This Roster Deserves a Better Creative Department – This Week in WWE – 5/28-30/2018

Monday Night Raw – Why Wouldn’t The Last Entrant Win The Gauntlet Match?

Jeremy is taking this one:

  • The Memorial Day Raw came to us from Richmond, Virginia.  As you can expect, WWE filled it to the brim with Patriotism, including shots of Jericho with troops that appear to be at least 8 years old.  Curious.
  • Braun Strowman was out first to declare himself the “Monster in the Bank”.  Finn Bálor shows up to slap him in the face.  If this doesn’t eventually become the new Devitt/Bad Luck Fale partnership, I’ve lost all faith in the world.

  • When Kurt Angle starts the show asking if we want to see a rematch from the main event last week, you know they’re phoning it in.  We got Bálor Vs. Strowman again, this time to start the show.  This one wasn’t as great as last week.  KO was on commentary and was able to hype it up a bit more.  He does manage to interfere at the end of the match attacking Finn with the ladder giving Strowman the DQ win.  Braun wasn’t too happy and threw a ladder at Kevin, who barely managed to roll out of the way.
  • If the had a MVP (or maybe it should be MVSE?), it would have to be Elias.  His schtick is a heat magnet.  He kept the crowd going for quite awhile until Seth interrupted him to start his match with Jinder.  The match…let’s just say Seth can’t pull off a great match with everyone.  It ends in DQ after Seth hits Jinder with a chairshot as payback from a previous one.  To add insult to injury, Elias nails Seth with a guitar at the top of the stage.
  • Nia stole a page from the Big Show’s playbook and is now suddenly, without any explanation, a heel again.  I’m pretty sure she’ll be back to being a face the moment she loses the Raw Women’s Championship.  Basically, Nia invited the local talent to try to put an armbar on her while taunting Rousey, who was on commentary.  Just a weird segment.
  • The Deleter of Worlds defeat The Ascension.  Nothing really to see here.  I’m sure this is the match that got cut from Hulu.
  • It’s a patriotic holiday, so that means there’s some sort of food fight.  The B-Team tried to host a BBQ to convince the rest of the teams to give them a front-of-the-line pass to Number 1 contenders.  It didn’t go well.  At least it gave us Rhyno sitting there eating a tray of bologna sandwiches.  And props on Titus for his conviction on calling out the terrible food.  That man seems like he does a mean BBQ himself.  But this segment has been done before.  It’s just another example of lazy WWE writing and recycling.
  • Kevin Owens defeated Bobby Roode.  Nothing spectacular here.  Strowman showed up after the win to corner KO.  Roode helped but ultimately found himself on the receiving end of a Running Powerslam
  • Sami Zayn apologized for the Lashley’s sisters segment from last week.  Well…not really.  He called Bobby a bully and liar hiding behind a good guy image.  Bobby showed up to try to crush his hand.  Despite the best efforts of Sami trying to get over the terrible writing and lack of chemistry with Lashley, this is not working.
  • Drew McIntyre defeated Chad Gable.  Good match.
  • Women’s Second Chance Gauntlet match for the last MitB spot:
    • Bayley started out at Number 1.  She immediately pinned Liv Morgan.
    • Sarah Logan was next up.  She lasted a bit longer but the Hugger took her out too.
    • Riott was out next. Morgan and Logan teamed up with Riott to take Bayley out of the match.
    • Ruby easily dispatched Dana Brooke.
    • Hometown hero Mickie James was out next.  Riott rolled her up with a handful of tights.
    • Sasha Banks fought off the entire Riott Squad and locked Ruby in the Banks Statement to win.
    • It is what it is.  It’s not nearly as good as past Women’s Gauntlet matches and definitely not in the same universe as the one that took up half of Raw where Rollins reclaimed his top spot.
  • If I was giving this episode a grade, it would get a D+.  You think that’s bad, but I gave Raw an F last week.  I sure hope this gets better…

Matt?:  Crap, Crap, Crap, Crap, Crap.  Stop with this Sami-Lashley shit.  Stop phoning in gauntlet match booking.   I’d give it a D+ simply because we got multiple Strowman appearances.  That’ll be about it.  Also, does anyone imagine any way that this Chad Gable feud against the tag team of Dolph and McIntyre doesn’t clearly foreshadow the return of American Alpha?

Smackdown Live – This Photo Says More About What’s Wrong With WWE Than I’ll Ever Need To

I was beyond excited for Daniel Bryan vs Samoa Joe to main event this week.  I’d already read that AJ Styles had the night off, so I didn’t have to fear him having his aging genitals destroyed again, for the 400th time, there wasn’t going to be any stupid Bobby Lashley-Sami Zayn segment, Tye Dillinger was actually going to get a televised match.  This should have gone smoothly.


Cageside gave this episode an A-, which baffles me.  They’re normally a significantly harsher critic than I am, but maybe they’ve just given in and they’re grading WWE shows against themselves, because when the bar is floored, everything feels like an improvement.

  • Samoa Joe opens the show, gets a ladder, brings down the briefcase and taunts Daniel Bryan’s family.  Bryan comes out with his “don’t talk about my family” shtick, Big Cass came out to lay out both competitors, reveal that he’s been cleared, and sneak his way into the main event for reasons that I don’t understand.  The Big Cass mold you’re looking for is on Raw, he’s Scottish, and he isn’t garbage.  If you need this role filled, just move McIntyre to the blue brand, he’d be a hell of a lot more fun to watch in the ring with this level of supporting talent.  Samoa Joe wins the Triple Threat Match, will probably give Strowman a run for his money at MITB.  
  • Nakamura defeated Tye Dillinger via pinfall following a Kinshasa.  Nak performed his own 10 count, but won by pin.  Why was there a referee out here at all?
  • Asuka defeated God’s Greatest Creation Mandy Rose (do I have to use all of that every time, Graves?), even after Sonya Deville jumped Asuka during her entrance.  It was a surprisingly good match, and actually gave Rose a chance to show what she’s got.  Carmella was on commentary and she taunted Asuka post match, but nothing came of it beyond that.
  • The New Day defeated The Miz and The Bar.   We still don’t know who will represent Team Pancake at Money in the Bank.
  • Lana and Naomi had a dance off?  Because we’re in the midst of a women’s revolution, so why not?  Naomi won, Lana hit a pretty solid neckbreaker, Rusev Day and The Usos went to blows, The Usos and Naomi stood tall because don’t they always seem to as long as The Bludgeon Brothers aren’t in arms reach?

Samoa Joe is a national treasure, but other than that I got nothing out of this.

Thoughts, Triple B?:

I didn’t catch the show but I saw this very good post SDL interview:

I really want Dean to show back up on SmackDown and have a killer feud with Joe.

205 Live – Our Hour Long Saving Grace in a Sea of “Sports Entertainment” Mediocrity

It only took 5 hours of appetizer to get to the main course, but holy shit did Alexander and Buddy Murphy deliver.  There hasn’t been a bad Buddy Murphy match since he came to 205 Live, he made a Kalisto match enjoyable for me, and now we’ve got a match of the year (in WWE) contender on our hands.  Best Kept Secret couldn’t be any more true, because he seemingly disappeared for months from NXT TV, then showed up ripped as shit and he’s tearing the house down in the Cruiserweight Division.

  • The Brian Kendrick and Gentleman Jack Gallagher defeated Lucha House Party (Kalisto/Dorado) via the Captain’s Hook on Dorado, with a little bit of a nudge from Drew Gulak.  Just a little nudge.  This trio is quite exciting, and as I’ve said for weeks, Kendrick-Gallagher continue to stress my point about needing a Cruiserweight Tag Championship.
  • Cedric Alexander retains the Cruiserweight Championship.  Seriously, just go watch this match.  You owe it to yourself if you devoted any of your week to Raw or Smackdown.

NXT TV- Why Does Shayna Always Look Like Someone Farted During her Photo Shoot?

More taped footage from Full Sail Live as we inch closer to what feels like a sort of understated or at least sort of underhyped NXT TakeOver: Chicago.

  • EC3 defeated Fabian Aichner.  I sort of feel bad for Fabian.  He’s got the right skill set, but much like Tino Sabatelli who’s heel cred basically creates itself, they don’t seem to really know what to do with him.  Aichner could very well be a big part of the roster in a few months when the main roster starts to bleed them dry again.
  • Aleister Black is confronted by Lars Sullivan in ring.  Lars informs him they will be squaring off in Chicago.  They go at it, with Aleister taking aim with a Black Mass, only to have Sullivan catch the kick and lay waste to the champion.  Should be a good match.  There’s no way Black drops the belt before EC3 comes after him for it though, otherwise it wouldn’t make much sense to have them both be in that tag match in the UK.
  • War Raiders win another squash.  At this point, I’m having a hard time giving a shit.  Could be because the only tag team I want to see is Tucky and Dozer.
  • Ricochet defeats Chris Dijak in his debut.  That part isn’t important, after the match, the DREAM makes his way out to confront The One and Only….
  • Velveteen Dream and Ricochet are legit gonna feud, and I’m thrilled.  Not only are we getting the insane tag match of Ricochet & Aleister Black vs Velveteen Dream & EC3 at the United Kingdom Tournament, but we will continue to see stuff like this:

  • Some video package about Bianca Bel Air.  Whatever.  She’s an absolute beast physically, but I cannot abide by the use of the braid as a weapon.  There’s no way it’s all natural hair, so it’s already a foreign object, but there’s no justification for allowing it to be used to leave welts on her opponents.  You can’t “fake” that.
  • Shayna Bazler defeated Dakota Kai to retain the NXT Women’s Championship.  After the match, NXT made all right for me in not sending Nikki Cross to the main roster with the rest of her Sanity-mates.

……That is my women’s champion.  Nobody is ready for Nikki!

All in all, this was a quality episode of NXT TV.  They’d held a lot of the card for TakeOver: Chicago back, but with only two weeks left, they really had to start getting more excitement around the event.  While I’m as over the Gargano-Ciampa thing as Candice LeRae, the rest of this is rounding out to be a potentially stellar show.  I’m strangely excited to see Sullivan get a singles match against the likes of Black.  He managed to hold his own in the ring with Dream and Ricochet last week, and looked like a serious threat to the crown in his confrontation tonight.  I’m actually excited now, and here lately that’s not something I say often.