This Week in Wrestling

ThisWeekInWrestling

 Raw

Jason Jordan interrupts his “Dad”, Kurt Angle, to whine and complain his way into an Intercontinental Championship match against Roman Reigns. However, Reigns comes out to shoot down his challenge in favour of getting the chance at retribution against Samoa Joe for last week’s attack. Samoa Joe comes out to kill them both but Jordan suplexes Reigns and Angle favours his son, telling Joe to wait his turn. I’m not a big fan of the whiny, cry-baby heel but this role really fits Jordan a lot better than the white-meat babyface; he has the chance to show more character and nuance and weasel his way into matches he hasn’t earned, which will go a long way to actually building him up as a credible heel.

Jordan instantly then gets the chance to back this new personality up in the ring by using his superior wrestling technique and ability to take Reigns to the limit. Similar to the match between Reigns and Elias last week, this was a big-stage showcase for Jordan and he really stepped his game up to another level in this match, manhandling Reigns into the steel steps and kicking out of the Superman Punch before he falls to another and the Spear. Reigns has very quickly transitioned into a United States Champion John Cena role in the last couple of weeks, putting on extremely enjoyable competitive matches against young up-and-comers that make both guys look good. Even better, he doesn’t really do the full-on Superman Comeback though this may have something to do with the fact that his moveset is already somewhat limited so you don’t notice the Five Moves of Doom. After the match, Joe attacks once again; Jordan makes the same but gets laid out by Reigns for his effort. Backstage, Jordan tries to get a match against Joe as well, only for Joe to kick the shit out of him.

The sexiest women’s wrestler that’s ever lived, Paige, made her in-ring return in a match against Sasha Banks; thankfully, her Absolution teammates (Sonya Deville, and Mandy Rose) interfere just enough to allow Paige to land the Ram-Paige and get a big win after a sold, aggressive match. Afterwards, Absolution beat down Banks and, when they try to help, Bayley and Mickie James. Just between you and me, there’s something about Paige’s flat, pale little belly that really gives me the shivers 😉

Our obligatory multi-men cruiserweight match happened next as Cedric Alexander, Mustafa Ali, Drew Gulak, and Tony Nese fought each other to determine who will face Rich Swann next week to become the number one contender to Enzo Amore’s Cruiserweight Championship. Similar to last week, this was actually a pretty decent match; it could’ve gone on for a bit longer (I like multi-man matches go about twenty minutes rather than burn through everything in five to ten). Just when Cedric looked to have it won with the Lumber Check, Gulak takes him out and steals the pin over Ali to take the match. I quite like Gulak’s new turn of character; he’s a fresh cruiserweight heel in a sea of unfortunately bland competitors, though I am pretty sure that Rich Swann will win the deciding match next week.

Elias attempts to sing a song only for Braun Strowman to straight-up murder him, leading to Kane appearing on the TitanTron to challenge Strowman to a match next week. It’s great to see Strowman murder guys and shrug off Elias’s attacks (including his guitar shot) but, after Elias went toe-to-toe with Reigns last week, it sucks a bit to see him get so badly beaten up here. afterwards, Asuka tapped out Alice Fox in just over two minutes and, afterwards, Absolution beat up Alicia because the more Paige the better.

In an attempt to regain the momentum he lost to Kane, Finn Balor went up against Bo Dallas next. This was quite the random, thrown-together match; Balor hasn’t had any interactions with the Miz or the Miz-tourage and has fallen from competing for the Universal Championship and against relatively top-level opponents to facing career jobber Bo Dallas. I know I harp on about wanting to see guys beat jobbers and people beneath them on the card but a little set up would have been nice. Anyway, although Dallas got a few good licks in, Balor got the win after the Coup de Grâce; maybe this win will lead towards some issues with the Miz and his cronies and some exciting matches between Mix and Balor?

Then the newly “Woken” Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt trade pre-taped insults against each other as Matt goes full on Broken for the first time since returning to the WWE, officially sentencing Wyatt to DELETION!! I actually take some of it back from last week; don’t get me wrong, I don’t see Matt Hardy being a main eventer in today’s WWE but the feud between Woken Matt and Wyatt might (might!) just be crazy and over-the-top enough to work or, at least, be massively entertaining. If they came cover for what will no doubt be quite lame matches with stupid gimmicks and Hardy’s wacky antics, it could be a lot of fun and maybe help push Wyatt back towards the main event.

Sheamus and Cesaro took on Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins for the Raw Tag Team Championships in the main event, putting on one of their best matches to date. So good, in fact, that Sheamus end sup getting himself disqualified for kicking Rollins’ ass too much when he lands the Rip-Cord Knee Strike on Cesaro. Angle restarts the match and makes it no disqualification, so Samoa Joe comes out to attack the Shield boys, prompting Reigns to come out and attack him. However, in the chaos, Seamus lands the Brogue Kick and retains the belts for his team. This is pretty obviously leading to a six-man tag tea match between the Shield and Cesaro, Seamus, and Joe; hopefully that will help put an end to the Cesaro/Sheamus/Ambrose/Rollins feud, if only to give the teams a breather and try new things.

SmackDownLive

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn open the show to take the piss out of Shane McMahon; they claim they are being conspired against by the McMahons and put over how much smarter and better they are. As Zayn explains how he was able to get around Shane’s dumb-ass decisions from last week, Randy Orton sneaks in out of nowhere and plants Owens with an RKO. Shane then comes out, claims he’s not out to get them or anything like that, and then books Zayn against Orton for later in the night with Owens handcuffed at ringside. He also books Zayn and Owens in a tag team match for Clash of Champions against Orton and a partner of his choosing. This was a pretty good format for Zayn to exude more of his newfound feel personality but, considering that Vince McMahon apparently thinks Finn Balor isn’t over, something tells me that the machine will never fully get behind Zayn.

Rusev and Aiden English finally team up as a tag team in a match against the New Day which, surprisingly, they win. So…last week, the number one contenders (Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin) lost to the New Day but the thrown-together team of Rusev and English can beat the New Day? WWE follows this logic through by announcing that we’ll see the Usos defend against Rusev and English and Gable and Benjamin, which would be a nice way to give some time and focus on a bunch of tag teams rather than just the Usos and the New Day (as long as the match goes longer than five or ten minutes).

Mojo Rawley justifies his heel turn from last week by rattling on about how he’s been royally screwed over since winning the Andre the Giant Battle Royale; he’s not wrong and it’s great to see some fire behind Mojo. Dolph Ziggler, who has apparently been added to the United States Championship match at Clash of Champions, has a run-in with Baron Corbin and Bobby Roode that  does little to really justify his sudden inclusion when he’s hardly earned such an opportunity in recent weeks. The Bludgeon Brothers defeated two jobbers; good for them. I really hope that they don’t become as obsolete as the Ascension have by this time next year.

Ziggler tries to show why he deserves to be in the United States Championship picture by interrupting a less-than-stellar match between Corbin and Roode, attacking both guys and trying to look tough. Look, I love Ziggler, but it’s difficult to buy him getting the upper hand against both Roode and Corbin; given that he’s had no build leading into the Clash of Champions match, Ziggler will probably win the belt at the event.

Charlotte Flair then taps out Tamina and, afterwards, Natalya vows to win the SmackDown! Live Women’s Championship back at Clash of Champions, only for the Riott Squad to take them all out.

Anyway…

Kevin Owens is handcuffed to ringside for the main event bout between Zayn and Orton; at least he’s not in a shark cage! Although Owens played a role in the early going, the match was mainly dominated by Orton to begin with. However, in a scuffle for some bolt cutters, Orton takes Zayn out with a Superplex and Owens is able to free himself. This doesn’t really benefit Zayn in any way though as, although he almost stole the match with a roll-up, Orton rolls him back up to win. After the match, Owens and Zayn try to attack Orton only for Shinsuke Nakamura to finally return to TV and fend them off, pretty much guaranteeing that he’ll be Orton’s partner at Clash of Champions. I was not impressed to see Zayn take the loss here after Owens beat Orton last week; Orton is pretty much untouchable and they really could have capitalised on the stipulation on the match to have Orton lose and then still be saved by Nakamura. Instead, Orton gets a strong win and Zayn has another loss in the record books. Oh, also, Shane adds that he will be the special guest referee for their pay-per-view match and, if Sami and Kevin lose, they’ll be fired. Seriously, Shane, please fuck off.

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