This Week In Wrestling

ThisWeekInWrestling

 Raw

Things are picking up as, this week, it’s all about Braun Strowman. Strowman, who continues to impress with his dexterity on the mic as well as in the ring, voices his excitement to get the chance to become Mr. Money in the Bank. Finn Balor pops out to give him props for their match last week but points out the age-old truth that, in the Money in the Bank ladder match, it’ll be every man for himself. After Finn attacks Braun, Kurt Angle immediately books a rematch from last week, which is a little weak, to be honest. Once again, Balor uses his speed and, this time, tries to target Strowman’s leg and there’s one vital difference: Kevin Owens comes out to taunt Finn on the mic and gets involved for the disqualification finish. After the match, Owens attacks Balor with a ladder (because, you know, ladder match!) but Strowman chases him off.

Elias threatens to play a song but gets interrupted by Seth Rollins, who randomly puts the Intercontinental Championship on the line against Jinder Mahal. Wasn’t Jinder supposed to be feuding with Roman Reigns? Anyway, Rollins actually managed the impossible and dragged a semi-decent match out of Mahal, countering the Khallas into a roll up. After a superkick and Falcon Arrow combo almost puts Mahal away, Sunil Singh distracts Rollins and allows Mahal to take advantage with a chair shot. After kicking out and dispatching of Singh with the career-ending Buckle Bomb, Rollins grabs the chair and twats Mahal for the disqualification. Afterwards, he chases Mahal up the ramp and smacks him repeatedly with the chair but, as he’s posing on the announce tables, gets smashed in the back by a guitar shot from Elias. so…Elias has switched away from Bobby Roode and towards the Intercontinental Championship? I guess that’s a good thing; maybe Rollins can elevate Elias’ in-ring game a bit to the point where I actually care about him.

Ronda Rousey sits on commentary while Nia Jax beats up a jobber; afterwards, they have a bit of a moment and I wonder how long it’ll be before they start making out. The Ascension finally remember that they’re employed and get a match against Bray Wyatt and Matt Hardy, which they, of course, lose in short order and with little impact.

Kevin Owens pulls double-duty again, this time for a match with Bobby Roode which, although a pretty decent affair, wasn’t exactly much to write home about and saw Owens win in surprisingly easy fashion. Braun Strowman came out and attacking Owens with the Running Powerslam; Roode cheered him on but also got planted, which is great because the crowd loves to see Strowman destroy fools.

Afterwards, Sami Zayn fakes an apology to Bobby Lashley and ends up getting his hand crushed in a handshake attempted, then Drew McIntyre gets his chance to beat up Chad Gable. This was a great exhibition for Drew but I still question what, exactly, this is supposed to do for gable; I’d love to think the WWE have a whole underdog/scrappy-fighter push gearing up for him but it just do not believe it.

And why should we care about the Ascension when the B-Team host an in-ring bar-be-que for the Raw tag team division to emphasise how they (not any other actual, real, deserving and underutilised tag team) deserve a title shot. This God-awful segment predictably ended in a food fight but, rather oddly, also ended with Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas easily putting Rhyno through a table. So…not a heel, then? And, also, kind of shit to see an ECW legend get punked out so easily.

Finally, the main event is another multi-man Money in the Bank qualifier between Liv Morgan, Sasha Banks, Ruby Riott, Dana Brooke, Sarah Logan, Mickie James, and Bayley. You know what I’m going to say: any one of these women would make superb additions to the Money in the Bank ladder match, especially one of the underutilised women, but, of course, the match was won by Sasha when she forced Ruby to tap out.

SmackDownLive

Samoa Joe kicks things off this week with a prophetic proclamation, symbolically climbing a ladder and claiming a briefcase. He also vows to end Daniel Bryan’s big comeback, which brings out Bryan to take issue with his words. However, before he can really defend himself, Big Cass crashes the party and beats them both up. This was a great promo by Joe, a great look for Bryan, and a great statement for Cass; he got right up in the faces of two of the WWE’s toughest guys and that’s how you make a statement.

Holy crap, Tye Dillinger is still alive! And he’s in a match right at a point where all of his hype, momentum, and popularity have waned due to non-exposure and lack of television time, which means it’s the perfect time for him to take on Shinsuke Nakamura in singles action. Despite a good effort by Dillinger, this was all about Nakamura sending a message to AJ Styles ahead of their Last Man Standing match; he pins Tye after the Kinshasa and then hits another and counts to ten after the match. It’s too bad that the WWE apparently won’t put any effort into pushing Tye because he should be a major up-and-coming player in the United States Championship division and, now, when they do decide to push him, they’re going to have to work that much harder to make people give a damn about him because they’ll be conditioned not to care.

Lana and Naomi had a dance off…which was very Attitude Era…and degenerated into a brawl between them, the Usos, and Rusev and Aiden English. Afterwards, surprising nobody, we got the six-man bout between the New Day and the Miz, Sheamus, and Cesaro that was set up last week. This match has been called the match of the night for the rising action and in-ring work, showing that it’s still not a great time to split the New Day apart just yet. In the end, Big E hit the Big Ending on the Miz after things broke down and got the win but, apparently, they won’t announce which of their guys will be in the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match until Money in the Bank.

Asuka got jumped by Sonya Deville on the way to the ring for her match with Mandy Rose, which made for a more competitive match, but still resulted in Asuka getting the win. Is anyone else really, really sick of the announcers constantly yelling “THE EMPRESS OF TOMORROW!!!” every time Asuka is in the ring?

Finally, the main event sees Daniel Bryan, Samoa Joe, and Big Cass square off to decide who will be added to the men’s Money in the Bank ladder match. This started off hot, with Bryan and Joe both going after Cass before things slowed down into a big of a slug-fest between Cass and Joe. Bryan was forced to play hit-and-run, working over Cass’ knee and trying to avoid the Coquina Clutch. In the end, Bryan took out Cass with a Missile Dropkick and the Running Knee Strike but got locked up in the Clutch and choked out, giving Joe to win.

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