On the Road Again, Wait, we’re still in Florida???? – This Week in WWE – 8/6-8/8/2018

Monday Night Raw – Jacksonville, FL

By: Jeremy Brunson

Man, this show has really tested my power of positivity this year…

  • Kurt Angle showed up to announce that Paul E. Dangerously Paul Heyman still has a job.  Kurt further insulted Brock Lesnar and gets warned from Constable Corbin to knock it off.  Roman showed up to tell everyone that Kurt wouldn’t have been F5’ed if he hadn’t been kicked out.  Roman and Corbin get into it, Kurt books the match, and they end up in a 92-segment 3-segment brawl that ends with Roman hitting a spear for the win.
    • One of the brief moments of joy in this show came from the “Constipated Corbin” sign.  I’m a child.
  • Seth is granted a tag team match against McIntyre & Ziggler with a partner of his choosing.  Tyler Breeze suggested a pairing, noting Seth’s unofficial nickname of Crossfit Jesus and his name could make Team Crossfit Breezus.  Tyler put out his fist to for the Shield fist thing but is left hanging.  Roman answered the call instead.
    • But…Roman would then be kicked out of the building to “protect the main event of Summerslam”.  Seth was left hanging.
    • Instead of going it alone, which Seth ended up doing, he should have teamed up with Breeze for one night.  Or just found anyone in the back to work with.  It just makes no sense to go out there alone.
    • It does seem like they’re trying to set this up as Dean’s return at Summerslam.  It kind of makes sense, ease him back in with tag team matches.  People loved the mini-Shield reunion that led to the bigger one.  The problem is: Dean is going to be white hot on his return.  It kind of makes no sense to return to business as usual…but that’s probably going to be what we’re going to get.
    • Unsurprisingly, Seth loses.
  • Roman did an interview with Corey Graves to show us all the previous times he’s failed to beat Brock and to tell us how it’s really going to be different this time.  I got to say, it kind of seems like they are setting up Roman to fail.  This Summerslam could be terrible.
  • Bobby Roode defeated Mojo Rawley with a Glorious DDT.  Nothing to really see here.
  • Elias was out with a crew to shoot an alternate cut of his documentary.  Bobby Lashley can out to suplex Elias.  I try to be positive but I just don’t get why they brought Bobby Lashley back.
  • Rezar defeated Titus O’Neil.  Welp…at least Authors of Pain are winning again.  I think they’d be better off just being off of TV until Creative has something for them.
  • The B-Team Vs. The Revival ended in a No Contest after Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt suddenly appeared to hit a Twist of Fate and Sister Abigail on Scott Dawson and Bo Dallas.  They’re getting rewarded with a Tag Team Triple Threat next week.
    • The B-Team got new theme music.  It’s basically like a cheer that you’d hear at some high school or college game.  I think it does fit better to their team name but “Battlescars” was a pretty cool theme.  Perhaps it was too cool for them.
  • In yet another match that seems to have been happening of 127 years, the Riott Squad defeated Banks and Bayley.  It’s not a complete repeat.  A hoodie-covered Ruby Riott came out from the crowd to try to help Morgan and Logan, ultimately leading to a win.
  • In something that should be no surprise, Alicia Fox was no match for Rousey.  I thought about writing more here but it really doesn’t deserve it.

Paul Heyman can’t get it together

Really the only good thing to come out of this week’s Raw is the Renee Young interview with Paul Heyman.  If you didn’t watch Raw, you need to watch this interview.

Why has Paul been restricted to the limited range he’s been working in?


Smackdown Live – Orlando, Florida

By: Matt Dowd

Lot’s of drama in the House That AJ Styles Built, let’s see WHAT’S UP (….foreshadowing an R-Truth appearance.  Just wait for it.)

  • Randy Orton opens the show talking about how he will erase everyone you respect and care about in the WWE.  He needs to be DELETED!
  • Becky Lynch and Charlotte talk backstage about the Summerslam match becoming a triple threat, and they show mutual respect to one another because they’ll prove they’re the best by beating the best, whichever way it goes.
  • Becky Lynch & Charlotte defeated The IIconic Duo via submission.  It was a decent match.  The main show audience irritates me doing the Boring chants during the IIconic promos.  Yes, they feel a hell of a lot more scripted than their social media videos from NXT, but still, they’re entertaining in their own right.  At least they have a thing.
  • After a recap of last week’s brutal Samoa Joe promo, AJ Styles comes out to respond.  He’s made the sacrifices to be where he is to provide for his family, he wishes he could be with his family more, etc.  It had some fire, not quite like Joe’s, but nobody spits fire quite like Joe.
  • Zelina Vega defeated Lana on another botched save attempt from Aiden English.  Poor Aiden.  His heart is in the right place.  Also, has anyone noticed how much damn better Lana has gotten in the ring?  She had one questionable landing on a spot, but it wasn’t even that bad considering.  I’m very impressed with her rapid progress.
  • R-Truth interrupts a Shinsuke interview with Renee Young to challenge Shinsuke to a US Title match at Summerslam.  When he’s told that’s not how it works, he confirms that he already knows that, but he’s going to get his shot by pinning Carmella tonight!  Dillinger interrupts to let him know that’s entirely wrong.  R-Truth just ends up challenging Nakamura to a match tonight instead, non-title of course.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura defeats R-Truth.  Don’t discount Truth here though, he was kicking Nakamura’s ass in the first 2/3 of this match.
  • Miz on the Titantron does an “on-set” interview with Byron Saxton who is in the ring.  Miz is the absolute best when they just let him shoot.  Daniel Bryan apparently scouted his shooting location for the evening, and shows up to dispatch of two security guards and The Miz.  Sort of odd how the set of Miz and Mrs. looks a lot like a cinderblock locker room with shitty props.
  • Bludgeon Brothers squashed 3 Tiny Dudes.  Not a lot to say here.  It didn’t have to happen.  Their monster build was more than solidified when they literally destroyed The Usos and brought Jey’s wife out crying for them to stop.
  • New Day defeated The Bar in one of the best Smackdown matches I’ve seen in a long damn time.  They will challenge Harper and Rowan at Summerslam for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship.

I don’t know why everyone was so surprised on social media about the quality of that New Day-Bar match.  This ain’t the first time they’ve put on one hell of a match together, and honestly can you think of a bad match The New Day has been in since that show stealing kickoff match with The Usos last year in Brooklyn?  I didn’t think so.


205 Live – Orlando, Florida

By: Matt Dowd

The one thing I can say about 205 Live is that they don’t get a lot of opportunities on PPV, and now that they aren’t given time on Raw because Roman needs four segments a night, they make the most of every minute of the hour they’re given.  This was a solid show.  No, it did not feature anything close to the Buddy Murphy-Mustafa Ali No DQ Match, but there was solid work and a potential questionable storyline coming.

  • Buddy Murphy and Tony Nese defeated Lince Dorado and Kalisto: I’m really read for Buddy Murphy to climb out of this feud and just start destroying everyone again.  For a division that only has one belt (and likely won’t be getting that tag belt I continue to lobby for because rumor has it the women are getting one and we can’t give the Cruiserweights too much PPV time), putting the belt on a Drew Gulak or an uber-heel like Murphy could go miles for storytelling.  It also doesn’t help that Cedric Alexander is barely 2-dimensional in promos, even if his ring work is far better than it was when he first got to 205 Live.
  • Noam Dar defeated Sean Maluta.  He had to work for this one, which was a touch surprising since Dar is getting a decent push right now, but it was a pretty solid match.  Maluta tends to be a quality opponent so you don’t have to put the guy your pushing over too many of the roster mainstays.
  • Hideo Itami defeated Mustafa Ali.  This may be the first time I’ve ever enjoyed Hideo Itami.  He normally moves at the pace of The Great Khali, which is confusing as fuck for a cruiserweight.  This match got real violent in the final few minutes.  To close out the night, Mustafa Ali collapsed in the ring post match from what is seemingly a concussion, but EMTs never came to his aid, instead two referees and Drake Maverick came out to ask Ali what year it was and loudly shout to each other that he doesn’t know.  It’s kayfabe, and let’s hope its going to lead to something absolutely ridiculous.

Ok, so maybe it doesn’t help that I just binge watched Jane the Virgin (don’t judge, Yael Grobglas is phenomenal on that show), but I’m almost hoping that the Mustafa Ali ending to the evening leads to an amnesia story line, maybe even one of the Overboard sorts, where Drew Gulak sweeps in a convinces him that he was part of his “Quest for a Better 205 Live” the whole time and Ali gets the most ridiculous heel turn ever (probably not ever, this is WWE).  Anyway, the matches were solid, as always, and this commentary team always worth giving an hour to.

NXT TV – Orlando, Florida (the other side of town)

By: Matt Dowd

NXT has two hours to go before their biggest event of the year.  They are going to burn Barclay’s to the ground at TakeOver next week, even considering the potential that Aleister Black might not be cleared to compete in the Championship Match.

  • Nikki Cross won a squash.  Can we please get her to Smackdown already?
  • The Undisputed Era destroyed Ricochet early in his entrance and he wasn’t able to compete.  Adam Cole cut another boss ass promo.
  • Kassius Ohno actually won a match, defeating some guy I’m not familiar with at all, but still.
  • EC3 and Velveteen Dream are golden.  I don’t even have anything that’s going to one up the recap from Cageside Seats, so I’m just going to share it with you, with credit to author StellaNYD:

“EC3 visted The Dream at his pool. They verbally sparred. EC3 threw Dream into the pool. Their chemistry together is palpable and should tear the house down in Brooklyn. Then they should star in a buddy cop film with lots of banter.”

  • Keith Lee got his squash match debut.  I’d have rather seen Keith Lee go over someone we’re familiar with, but it doesn’t matter.  Just Bask in his Glory.
  • Taynara Conti defeated Venessa Borne and will return to the Mae Young Classic.  I don’t like to be that guy, but if you have to compete in a qualifier, they’re not giving you that trophy, especially since they seemingly dropped the alliance with the Undisputed Era from Conti’s character.
  • Aleister Black and Johnny Gargano ended in a no contest.  I don’t suppose I have to tell you that Ciampa was the cause, but this is a recap, so Ciampa did it.  Chaos in the ring brings out the GM, and Regal makes the match official for a Triple Threat in Brooklyn.

The only negative thing I can say is that they are still failing to use Nikki Cross to her full potential, and that’s not something you really get to say about NXT all that often.  Move her to Smackdown so she can bring an entirely new kind of chaos to the women’s division.  Carmella may be money, but for my money, Nikki Cross is the most entertaining person on the WWE roster right now, regardless of gender.

That’s your week.  I’m definitely more excited for TakeOver than Summerslam, and wildly more interested in everything Smackdown and 205 Live have going than anything they’re going to have from the Raw side at the Biggest Event of the Summer (still inexplicably held in a 14,000 seat arena).