The Road to Pittsburgh – This Week in WWE – 7/9-7/11/2018

This week should have been all about getting people excited for Extreme Rules.  That’s not exactly my take away from it, as the best parts of the week aren’t things you’ll get at Extreme Rules.  But let’s see how we’ve paved the roads to Pittsburgh for the most “Extreme Night of the Year” free for new subscribers.

Jeremy was kind enough to provide our Raw recap this week.  We’ve decided that we’re going to continue with the quick hits format until we feel like there’s more substantial stuff going on.

Monday’s Raw took place in the TD Garden in Boston, MA.

  • The show started off with Bob challenging Roman to call him out in his promo. Roman was curious so he poked the bear. True to Bob’s word, he came at Roman. Kurt tried to stop it by sending almost the entire Raw roster out there. This is really what should have been week 2 of this whole feud.
  • Nia Jax & Natalya defeated Alexa Bliss & Mickie James. Nia took down Bliss with a leg drop ahead of their Extreme Rules match on Sunday. The took no time in reminding you who this feud is really about: Ronda Rousey.
  • Mojo Rawley defeated No Way Jose. Jose has no entrance for the second week in a row. He’ll be wrestling exclusively on Main Event in about a month.
  • Bo Dallas defeated Woken Matt Hardy. I’m sure it’s a great sign that participants in this weekends tag team match weren’t in the Hulu edit…
  • Ember Moon defeated Liv Morgan. I’m actually disappointed this was cut from the Hulu edit. I would have liked to see it. Liv’s sell of the Eclipse a couple of weeks ago was a thing of beauty.
  • ELIAS IS RECORDING AN ALBUM!!! Who knows if it’s real or Kayfabe, but I’ll be downloading. It would be amazing if it’s only available on vinyl.
  • Elias & Baron Corbin defeat Bobby Roode & Bálor. Elias attacked Roode and Corbin followed it up with an End of Days. This was a fine match but nothing special.
  • Kevin Owens hid from Brain Strowman for the whole show and got himself booked in a cage match for Sunday.
  • Bayley and Banks are still in therapy. It’s interesting that they’ve already managed to pour a bucket of ice on this feud after Bayley’s attack a couple of weeks ago. Maybe they can somehow save this?
  • And if you watch absolutely nothing else this week, watch the Drew McIntyre Vs Seth Rollins match. If Rollins won the match, Drew would be banned from ringside on Sunday. In a classic battle between power and speed, they traded blows back and forth and told a hell of a story. Add to that Ziggler’s excellent expressions at ringside. Ziggler ran some interference himself and ended up on the receiving end of a stomp. That distraction allowed for Drew to setup the Claymore for the win.
  • Raw posted it’s worst ratings for this year with this episode. It weirdly wasn’t bad but it did feel like a bit of a filler episode. That might have been fine if it wasn’t the Go Home Raw for Extreme Rules. Meanwhile, SD posted their best ratings since post Wrestlemania. We might have a lopsided card this Sunday.

Matt’s Take: Rollins vs McIntyre was a fantastic match.  Seth Rollins has officially become the AJ Styles of Raw, making everyone he gets in the ring with look like a million bucks.  McIntyre is no slouch, but it was great to see him get a lengthy bout with someone who would help him really paint the picture of what he brings to the table.  Watch the Hulu edit, you’ll get the two things that matter: Rollins-McIntyre & The Brawl between Lashley and Roman.  If this version of Roman that doesn’t feel the need to talk much and just goes about beating the shit out of everybody by any means necessary had been the one they’d been bringing to the table, he’d have been a fan favorite this whole time.  Instead, you built him as a sub-par Rock replacement Superman, and nobody wanted that.  We love underdogs and fighters.  Not guys that win, we want guys that fight whether they win or not.  Keep this Roman Reigns on television and the crowd will be around sooner rather than later.

Smackdown was a bit better in terms of substance.  I don’t necessarily like that Paige has essentially become a really REALLY pale Teddy Long, seemingly just putting everyone into tag team matches……everyone.  In terms of the overall show, Kane was the highlight of the night as odd as that is to say, stringing together several NSync references over the course of the evening.  In terms of matches, Sin Cara vs Almas was a great battle between two guys that know each other really really well without having been put in the ring over and over again by WWE lazy booking, a ten man tag match between New Day-Team Hell No & Bludgeon Brothers-Sanity was a well run match, and that’s hard to pull off in 10 man matches most of the time when it doesn’t have the level of planning a Survivor Series match would get.

  • Team Hell No joins Miz TV.  Kane loves NSync & doesn’t want Daniel Bryan too focused on Miz before Sunday.  When Miz taunts DB by calling Kane a nostalgia act and a broken down demon, the big man throws the hand for a chokeslam, but the Bludgeon Brothers’ music hits and he stops.  Sanity attacks from behind and the five are tearing into Team Hell No when The New Day comes in to make the save.  That’s how we got our Main Event for the evening.
  • AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura ended via DQ as Rusev came out from the announce desk to hit Styles.  The two teamed up on Styles until Jeff Hardy leveled the playing field.  Here comes Paige, so let’s have a tag team match right now.  Rusev hit Hardy with the Matchka Kick for the victory.  While I’m bored with AJ-Nakamura, the match before the interference was better than their bout at Wrestlemania was, which is sad to say.  That being said, Rusev picking up the pinfall foreshadows because WWE booking….and honestly, he deserves better build to the title shot he’s deserved for a hell of a long time.
  • Asuka beat James Ellsworth in a Lumberjack Match with the Women’s Division at ringside.  The lumberjacks spent more time fighting each other than playing a role in the match.  Afterwards, Ellsworth sprayed the eyes of Asuka and held her for the superkick from Carmella.  I’m sure he’ll get hell for it, but Byron Saxton hit the nail on the head when he openly said on commentary that “that might have been one of the worst wrestling matches I’ve ever seen.”
  • Andrade Cien Almas defeated Sin Cara in a good bout.  Screw the rest of the roster.  Almas-Styles at Summerslam is a dream I didn’t realize I had until I was typing this.
  • Team Hell No and The New Day beat Sanity and The Bludgeon Brothers.  After the match, Daniel Bryan somehow channeled the energy of the WWE universe and called upon Kane’s flames to close out the show.

205 Live is its own worst enemy.  It has the same problems that NXT has.  They find a new way to set the bar higher than before, and then you’re sort of disappointed for weeks until they can one up it.  Last week, Buddy Murphy and Mustafa Ali had a No DQ match that I have no problem admitting is my current #1 match of the year.  Standing Spanish Fly off the barricade onto the announcer’s desk?  You damn right.  They also have the other issue you find a lot in NXT, where the roster is astoundingly deep, but they’ve brought in these people that get tossed to the top of the card because that’s just where they are supposed to be.  Let me be really clear here, Lio Rush is obnoxious as fuck and I want so badly for him to just have to take a beating from Buddy Murphy already, and Hideo Itami is boring as fuck.  Maybe it was the hype when he was coming back from injury 972, maybe it was because commentary has constantly harped on the idea that I’m supposed to think he’s absolutely amazing.  I don’t know what it is, but he’s boring, and he ruined Cedric Alexander’s fairly lengthy streak of putting on high quality matches.

  • Kalisto won against Tony Nese via DQ when Buddy Murphy decided he wanted to destroy the entire Lucha House Party single-handed.  He could have done it, I don’t know why they bothered having Nese pull him back.  There hasn’t been a single match Murphy has had since he came to 205 Live that has not been damn good, most of them bordering on great and the Ali bout from last week being beyond great.
  • Lio Rush defeated another Jobber.  Now he’s going to have a match against Akira Tozawa because former champions have to job out to everyone for some reason.
  • Cedric Alexander defeated Hideo Itami with the Lumbar Check to retain the championship.

The Undisputed Era is the Best!!!!  Also, poor Mustache Mountain.  First England got beaten by Croatia and eliminated from World Cup contention.  Then they dropped the tag team belts back to The Undisputed Era, because The Undisputed Era needs all the belts so they can continue to cut the best douche promos on Earth.

  • Danny Burch and Adam Cole put on a pretty good show for the North American Championship.  Cole beat Burch clean, which was a nice booking move to remind people that Cole doesn’t need his buddies to win his fights for him, he’s very much capable on his own.  Don’t sleep on Burch, he’s a damn good performer, but this was a solid move to have him give Cole this big clean win.
  • Candice LeRae and Baszler got into a parking lot brawl.
  • Kairi Sane defeated Vanessa Borne.
  • Ciampa attacks Black when he arrives at Full Sail.
  • The Undisputed Era defeats Mustache Mountain to bring home the Tag Team Championship.

Well, that was your week.  Are you excited for Extreme Rules?  I’m definitely excited for the kick off show.  Beyond that, I guess we will see.