This Week in Wrestling

ThisWeekInWrestling

Raw

Kurt Angle kicks Raw off to get Jason Jordan back on track towards the Miz, who complains about not having a match booked for No Mercy and ends up faced with the prospect of having to face either Matt Hardy, Elias, Jeff Hardy, Bo Dallas, Curtis Axel, or Jordan after a number one contender’s match later in the night. Tempers flare after this and result in Jordan kicking the hell out of Miz and the Miz-tourage.

Nia Jax then built up some serious heat and momentum by pinning Alexa Bliss in a non-title match. Afterwards, she attacks Sasha Banks as well, but Bayley returns to lead the girls against Nia and Alexa. The plus side here was that Nia Jax actually looking dominant and even won a match.

Oddly, rather than being on the No Mercy card, Seamus and Cesaro beat Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose and the Club in a three-way tag team match that involved an uncharacteristically sloppy 3D from Sheamus and Cesaro to Rollins and Sheamus stealing the victory after Ambrose laid out Karl Anderson with the Dirty Deeds. So this victory means that Sheamus and Cesaro get the title shot at No Mercy, which I guess is fine, but I actually would have rather seen this match, given more time, on the pay-per-view if only because we could’ve seen the Club win a match but, apparently, that is just too much to ask.

Curt Hawkins then attempts to break his 114 match losing streak by taking on Apollo Crews and fails, with Crew beating him pretty handily. I didn’t even realise Hawkins had had 114 matches since his return, much less that he was on a losing streak or anything. I guess trying to break the losing streak is the story for Hawkins now, which may not be much but it’s a lot more than Crews has going on at the moment; it seems the WWE has basically given up on the Titus Worldwide stuff and now he’s back to spinning his wheels again.

Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar have a pre-taped sit-down interview with Michael Cole, where Heyman spends most of his time hyping Braun Strowman as a legitimate threat to Lesnar. However, he’s not about to bet against his client, so Lesnar vows to take Strowman to Suplex City. Afterwards, Roman Reigns comes out to mock John Cena for being a hypocrite; he shows footage of Cena ragging on the Rock in 2012 for being a part-timer and uses it to fuel his argument that Cena’s time is over. Without Cena there to trade barbs with him, this came off as very petty and pathetic of Reigns’s part but I like him as a smarmy, shit-eating, self-entitled heel so at least he built some more heel heat (like he needed it).

In an attempt at retribution, Goldust (sans face paint and billed as Dustin Rhodes) takes on Bray Wyatt in a rematch from last week that goes exactly the same way as before. Though Dustin put up a good fight, he ultimately fell to the Sister Abigail, once again allowing Bray to not only win a match for a change but giving him some more momentum for No Mercy. Afterwards, Finn Balor appears on the TitanTron vowing to end Bray Wyatt…even though he already did.

Enzo Amore then came out but, before he could do anything, Braun Strowman attacked him and absolutely murdered him in the ring with a particularly vicious-looking Chokeslam and Running Powerslam. Afterwards, Neville hit the Red Arrow on Enzo and mocked him. Not a great look for Enzo, who is being built as Neville’s next challenger, but the WWE is apparently intent on punishing Enzo and publically humiliating him even at the detriment on the Cruiserweight Championship. On the plus side, Neville then beat Gran Metalik with the Rings of Saturn in a short match to remind everyone that he’s a dominant champion; though losing so quickly and decisively doesn’t mean much for Gran Metalik’s future in the division.

As establish during the opening, the main event sees Jason Jordan overcome Matt and Jeff Hardy, Elias, Bo Dallas, and Curtis Axel to become the number one contender for the Intercontinental Championship. Although Jordan won, he didn’t exactly get much time or of a chance to shine as the match went barely over ten minutes and his win looked more like luck than actual skill. He then looked like a bit of a chump afterwards when the Miz laid him out with the Skull-Crushing Finale. I can’t help but think that this might have meant more if Jordan hadn’t been side-tracked with the back-to-back losses to Cena and Reigns and had, instead, been fighting off his competition, building up wins, and having competitive matches. But yeah, sure, just have him luck out and handle it in the sloppiest, laziest way possible.

SmackDownLive

Shane McMahon returns to the WWE and vows to put Kevin Owens through hell, in the Hell in a Cell match, at Hell in a Cell (that’s a lot of hell). As you might expect, I am still not excited or interested in seeing Shane jump off stuff or bump around to make Owens look good when he’s already good.

This is followed by SmackDown! Live’s hottest rising heel, Aiden English, getting his ass handed to him by Randy Orton. I really don’t get what the plan is for Aiden English; he can beat Sami Zayn pretty decisively with no issue but can’t beat Bobby Roode (remember him? Where the hell is he!?) or Orton so he’s clearly not that good. Ugh, well, anyway, Rusev pops out seeking to avenge his absolutely pathetic loss to Orton at Summerslam and…surprisingly…succeeds! He kicks Orton in the face and pins him with no issue. Okay, so, a) how lame does this now make Aiden English look? All he had to do was do a lame Superkick and he would’ve won and b) again, this doesn’t make Rusev’s loss at Summerslam any better. Crazy, crazy booking here as it’s not like any of these three guys are going anywhere any time soon but they all look equally pathetic at the same time as they’re trying to make them look good.

Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers then come out to get some more licks in on Shinsuke Nakamura in the build up to their Hell in a Cell match that mostly boils down to generic, xenophobic insults. Unfortunately, despite trying to defend Jinder, I have to agree that he’s hardly making an impact with his promo skills and basically says the same generic shit week in and week out; stop talking crap and just attack Nakamura and lay the boots to him while yelling in Punjabi or something!

AJ Styles then make Baron Corbin tap out in what was supposed to be a United States Championship match but the bell never rang and it turned into a beat down/squash fest as Tye Dillinger ran out to put some hurt on Corbin for last week and this mainly served to set up that Corbin’s leg is hurt. Charlotte Flair then made her triumphant return, updating everyone on Ric Flair’s health, and then books her in a number one contender’s match against Becky Lynch, Naomi, and Tamina, with the winner getting the title shot at Hell in a Cell.

The Hype Bros continue their own losing streak, losing to the New Day in less than ten minutes. Backstage, afterwards, they both mutually agree that they need to make drastic changes to change their losing streak; this injected a bit of spice into their relationship as it was hinted that, rather than one of them turning heel, they both might. Maybe they’ll form a bitter heel stable with Dolph Ziggler, that might be fun.

The main event was the aforementioned four-way match, which saw Charlotte get was win over Tamina. This wasn’t much to write about; the right woman won, in my opinion, and hopefully this means Natalya’s random reign can come to an end and we can get the SmackDown! Live women back on track but I wont hold my breath or care much either way.

No Mercy

Predictions:

Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt
I’m not sure why this match is even really happening, as Finn pretty decisively beat Bray Wyatt at Summerslam. I can understand Wyatt wanting to avenge his loss, though, but the way he’s gone about it is really weird; he criticises Finn for having to become something else, something quasi-supernatural, to overcome him and yet he uses quasi-supernatural tactics all the time and always claims to be a God? If anything, this feud should have continued based on Wyatt trying to recruit Finn. I’m actually going to go with a controversial predication this time around; Bray’s been building up wins and looks focused for a change so I’m going to say Bray Wyatt will win and the feud will continue, hopefully with a bit more venom and fire behind it, maybe even transitioning it into a more exciting and interesting deal for both men as they wait in turn for a Universal Championship shot.

Roman Reigns vs. John Cena
Here’s your WrestleMania main event, seven months early and sat on a B-show. As I may have said, I can only assume that this is the first of maybe three or four matches between these two men. Maybe they’ll lead separate teams at Survivor Series and have a showdown at the Royal Rumble as well before the final, big money rubber match at WrestleMania. This one’s quite tough to call; Cena is all over the place at the moment, putting over Shinsuke but cutting off Corbin’s push, and on-and-off television all the time. I’d like to see him lose and help edge Reigns closer into a heel role but, actually, I think we’ll see John Cena take the win and throw it in Reigns’s face over the following weeks. That would also put a massive chip on Reigns’s shoulder and make him desperate for a rematch, which could ignite their hatred even further.

Raw Tag Team Championship Match: Dean Ambrose and eth Rollins (c) vs. Cesaro and Sheamus
As I said, I would much rather have seen the Club involved in this match as well. Hell, throw the Hardy Boyz in there as well and just make it a four-way match; at least it would make the teams seem relevant and equal as contenders. Instead, they’ve settled on a simple rematch formula which, due to its predictable set-up, means I’m taking the easy way out with this one and hedging my bets on Ambrose and Rollins to retain the belts, hopefully to put on awesome matches with the Revival later down the line.

WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Enzo Amore vs. Neville
Given that the WWE seems intent on punishing Enzo for his attitude and backstage antics, I don’t like his chances here; he’s clearly been rushed into this position because the cruiserweights are floundering in obscurity and the audience just doesn’t care about any of them. However, instead of capitalising on Enzo’s charisma, they had him get murdered by Big Cass and Braun Strowman and portrayed as a loser. I don’t imagine that Enzo will win here, maybe in a later match but, for right now, expect to see Neville walk way with the belt once more.

Raw Women’s Championship Fatal Five-Way Match: Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Bayley vs. Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax vs. Emma
Man, the WWE is absolutely obsessed with their five-way matches these days. As you might expect, I don’t give much of a rat’s ass about this match as the Raw women’s division is treading water until Asuka heals up and makes her debut. As a result, I’m assuming that she’ll come in as a face so let’s give her an unstoppable, dominant female champion to go up against. It’s time to pull the trigger and have Nia Jax squash her opponents, win the belt, and dominate the division until Asuka comes in to dethrone her and gain instant credibility. Bad news for Bayley and Emma, maybe, but there’s no reason all of these women have to be involved with the belt all the Goddamn time.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: The Miz (c) vs. Jason Jordan
Of all the matches on this card, this is the one that the WWE has dropped the ball on the most. As a result, there’s not really been much of a build between Jordan or Miz so I actually don’t expect Jordan to win here; I see this as being similar to Shinsuke Nakamura’s match with Jinder Mahal at Summerslam in that this will be the springboard for a more involved feud between these two. Jordan has the skills and charisma to go pretty far, I think, but he’s not really had the best chance to showcase that; have him lose, maybe due to interference by the Miz-tourage, and then have to fight through Dallas and Axel and the Miz’s slimy heel tactics to earn a rematch later on, maybe inside of a cage or something, but for now, it’ll be the Miz retaining.

WWE Universal Championship Match: Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar
Braun Strowman is, undoubtedly, the breakout star of 2017. Who would’ve thought that back when he debuted as a slow, lumbering giant with a limited moveset or when the Undertaker refused to face him that he would be positioned as the WWE’s most dominating force? Even losses to Kalisto and Roman Reigns haven’t hindered his momentum as he has wrecked opponents and arenas throughout the year in his quest for more competition and now, surprisingly, he is not only a legitimate contender for the Universal Championship but also entirely believable as a main eventer and the man who can beat Lesnar. Up until now, only Goldberg has been able to do that, with even Samoa Joe failing to get a victory over him, which was unfortunate. However, I don’t think Joe was ever meant to win the belt and, instead, is being positioned as more of a mechanic and a big, skilled guy to help other guys look better and be a believable contender. Yet, this is Brock Lesnar and the WWE; the question is, is the WWE really, really willing to take a chance and give Strowman the ball and see what happens? After they cut the legs off of Baron Corbin and can’t get over wanting Reigns as the top guy, it seems unlikely but maybe, maybe, it’ll happen and Lesnar can bugger off back to UFC or something for a bit. You know what? Screw it! Braun Strowman gets the win, and the belt, and goes on an absolute tear until someone, I’m thinking/hoping for Finn Balor, wins the Royal Rumble and gets to take him down at WrestleMania, freeing Lesnar for a separate match against another big-name opponent.

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