This Week in Wrestling

ThisWeekInWrestling

 Raw

Braun Strowman is out to predict his Universal Championship win at Royal Rumble, only for Kurt Angle to come out and fire him for trying to murder Brock Lesnar and Kane last week. Funny because I remember Roman Reigns trying to kill Strowman not that long ago and being given a title shot. Although Braun is led out by security, they make the mistake of riling him up so he beats the shit out of them and begins a night-long path of destruction.

Sheamus and Cesaro attempt to course-correct by taking on Apollo Crews and Titus O’Neil in a rematch from last week, only for Jason Jordan and his entrance music to distract Sheamus long enough for Apollo to roll him up and steal another victory. Afterwards, Seth Rollins came out and had a go at Jordan for…some reason. I kinda get it; they’re supposed to be the good guys and everything but it’s not like Jordan got physically involved with the match or anything. The crowd seemed really into Crews’ getting the win but just randomly having a formally-jobber-only team get fluke wins over the former Raw Tag Team Champions is such a rushed, forced way of trying to fill the tag team void we have in the WWE right now. Plus, like, they should at least capitalise on these two wins by pushing Titus Worldwide into the championship scene otherwise what was the point of all this?

Meanwhile, Braun Strowman destroys Kurt’s office and then kicks the crap out of Curt Hawkins, smashing him through a table and stealing some cake!

Cedric Alexander (with Goldust…because Goldust on 205 Live and being associated with the cruiserweights is a thing now) took on and defeated Tony Nese despite Enzo Amore trying to play cheerleader. I can’t help but feel like this whole cruiserweight division should’ve just stayed on NXT or the WWE Network than waste away on Raw.

Meanwhile, Braun absolutely wrecks one of the production trucks and tips over a semi-truck (with, admittedly, some pretty obvious camera trickery) and then threatens to throw Michael Cole off the stage. Kurt runs out and says that he’s been rehired so Braun celebrates…by throwing Cole off anyway! I mean, sure, onto a bunch of security guards but still; take that, you bastard!

Asuka manages to chop down the tree that is Nia Jax with her striking game, eventually causing her to slip from the ringside steps and succumb to her injured knee enough for the match to be called off. This isn’t exactly the dominating force I wanted from Nia but I guess it makes Asuka look tough.

Next up, the Revival are back! Not only that but they managed to beat some jobbers without getting hurt; afterwards, they claim to be “professional wrestlers” rather than “sports entertainers” but, honestly, who fucking doesn’t these days? Roman Reigns takes on Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel and overcomes…I guess you’d call them “odds” but, let’s be honest, Reigns was never going to get pinned in this match…to set up his upcoming title defence against the Miz at Royal Rumble. It’s nice to finally see the Miz-tourage being used as Miz’s flunkies but nobody really gains much from beating them, even in handicap matches, because the WWE hasn’t bothered to build them as a serious threat. Miz should’ve gotten more involved in this match and maybe even just jumped Reigns for a massive beat down.

Sonya Deville takes out Sasha Banks with minimum interference from her follow Absolution cohorts. The real story here, though, is my complete lack of interest in Raw’s womens division because it seems like Paige is going to be forced into super-early retirement due to a neck injury. Not only does that suck for her but it absolutely sucks for me as a…shall we say “great admirer” of hers.

Matt Hardy defeated Heath Slater, who couldn’t win even with Rhyno at ringside, with no appearance by Bray Wyatt or anything so it was kind of a pointless, throwaway match.

The main event was the long overdue rematch between Seth Rollins, WITH Jason Jordan, and Finn Balor, who was accompanied by Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. Both guys brought their A-game to this match, showcasing why they really should be involved in the main event scene were it not for Lesnar’s stranglehold on the Universal Championship. Balor managed to fight out of THE KNEE~!! and Sheamus and Cesaro came down to fight with Jordan, Gallows, and Anderson. Balor misses the Coup de Grâce but rolls through, only to be tripped by Jordan and be pinned after Rollins his the motherfuckin’ Curb Stomp! Now back to using its original name, the Blackout, its great to see Rollins’ most devastating finisher make a return to television and it really helped sell that Rollins was pulling out all the stops to win the match.

SmackDownLive

The New Day open the show to predict that Xavier Woods is destined to win the United States Championship tournament (and, obviously, the belt) only for Jinder Mahal and the Singh Brothers to interrupt and get the match underway. While it’s unique to see Xavier getting some time as a singles performer, there was no real way he was ever going to win this match against the guy who, for all his faults, was just the World Champion. As a result, despite a valiant effort, Mahal planted him with the Khallas and got the win though this match provide, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Mahal has not learned a thing from his matches with AJ Styles or his time as champion and hasn’t improved between the ropes at all.

This was immediately followed by the last semi-final match for the tournament, which pitted Bobby Roode against Mojo Rawley. Mojo has new music now, I’m not sure if I mentioned that or noticed it last week, but really needs a new wardrobe and to drop the “Mojo”. Although Mojo brought the aggression, he was never going to go over Roode so Roode hit the Glorious DDT (which really needs a better name, by the way) and got the win to advance. Afterwards, the Singhs attack him so Roode rants and Danial Bryan grants his request for the finals of the tournament to be tonight rather than at Royal Rumble.

The Riott Squad get some traction back for the women’s Royal Rumble match by beating Charlotte Flair, Naomi, and Becky Lynch; at this point, they should just introduce an interbrand Six-Woman Tag Team Championship.

The main event is, as I mentioned, the finals of the United States Championship tournament, which was another dull, plodding effort by Jinder Mahal but who gives a crap because Roode’s charisma deflected all of Mahal’s lame attacks, allowing him to counter the Khallas into the Glorious DDT and become the new United States Champion. Man, that was a lot of Jinder this week; he wasn’t on television this much when he was World Champion! After the match, Shane McMahon and Bryan managed to put their differences aside for a change and present Roode with the belt. Hopefully this mean that the division can get back on track…once the inevitable feud with Dolph Ziggler is out of the way.

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