Winners: The New Day, Charlotte Flair, John Cena and Bobby Lashley, The IIconics, AJ Styles, Nikki and Brie Bella and Ronda Rousey, Buddy Murphy, The Shield, Daniel Bryan, and Triple H.
Surprisingly enough, it was the SmackDown! Live Tag Team Championships that opened the show; nice to see the Cruiserweight Championship actually get a prime spot on the card for a change. This match was all about starting things off with a bang so the New Day went full-pelt right from the early going and were constantly bringing the fight to the Bar to stop them using their power and strength. In the end, the New Day managed to use this and their numbers to keep things on their side and picked up the win.
Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair were up next and, in a similar vein to the last match, this was all about Becky going after Charlotte right from the start and forcing her into a defensive position. Charlotte eventually weathered the storm and tried to tangle Becky up in submission holds but Becky eventually says “screw that!” and wallops her with the belt for the disqualification. She then hit the Exploder on Charlotte on the floor after the match and, even though she was more vicious and brutal in this match, the crowd were still 100% behind her.
John Cena debuted his JBL-inspired hair (seriously, the last time I saw him he was going bald and seemed to be edging towards embracing that with a buzzcut but now he has a dead rat stuck on his head!) for his team up with Bobby Lashley against Elias and Kevin Owens. Elias and Owens worked the quick tags and tried to isolate Lashley for the majority of this match but the actual meat-and-potatoes was lacking so things quickly turned to the faces favour when Lahsley got the got tag and Cena busted out his five moves of doom. Cena then won the match after hitting Elias with that God-awful flash punch thing he does now; pretty sure he’s pinned Elias with that at other shows this year and it always looks terrible.
Asuka and Naomi went up against Billie Kay and Peyton Royce next in a pretty short and pretty terrible match that saw the IIconics get the win; if this kind of slapped together rubbish is what we can expect from the inevitable Women’s Tag Team Championships then I am not going to be impressed.
Samoa Joe challenged AJ Styles for the WWE Championship following this; the match kicked off with a good, old-fashioned brawl and escalated upwards from there. Joe took the fight to the outside, beating AJ around the ring, and then made sure to ground things inside the ropes to maintain the advantage. There was a great moment when Joe slipped out of the Styles Clash and nearly murdered AJ with a Clothesline then, later, AJ dumped Joe through a table and started going after his knee. Eventually, after once again teasing the Muscle Buster, Joe managed to get the Coquina Clutch on AJ and, right as it seemed like another controversial finish, AJ managed to counter into the Calf Crusher for the win. Although this appeared to be the final match in their series, I fully expect Joe to hang around the title scene for at least one more month.
The Bellas and Ronda Rousey took on the Riott Squad next; there was a bit of dissension at the start as the faces couldn’t decide who should begin the match and took a while to tag Ronda in, which annoyed her a bit. Things settled down eventually and they all got on the same page enough to win the match, which is a shame as I feel it would’ve worked better for everyone if the dissension had allowed the superior tag team to take advantage.
As mentioned earlier, Cedric Alexander defended the Cruiserweight Championship against Buddy Murphy and it wasn’t the opening match. Again, I may not actually watch a lot of wrestling these days but I don’t even follow 205 Live so I have no real idea what the story behind this feud is; I know Murphy had a bit of a stint in NXT but he has apparently reinvented himself on 205 Live so I guess it was simply about him wanting to have his moment to shine. That happened in this match, though, as, after a hard fought and competitive bout, Buddy kicked out of the Lumbar Check to a huge pop and hit Murphy’s Law for the win to a huge ovation (he was the home-town hero, after all…though I suspect that this means he will immediately drop the belt later this week because that’s modern-day WWE for you).
Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose were up against Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, and Drew McIntyre next. Once again, this started as a brawl and continued on from there; the heels targeted Rollins right off the bat, correctly identifying him as the true threat due to his versatility. Seth managed to tag in Dean after Strowman missed a Splash from the top rope (yes, seriously!); Dean brought the momentum back on the Shield’s side enough for it to be safe for Reigns to tag in and take over. Reigns ran wild, so wild that he “accidentally” hit Dean with a Superman Punch before everything broke down into another brawl. Dean teased walking out but eventually made the save, eventually leading to him plating Dolph with the Dirty Deeds and getting the win.
Despite the Miz attacking as soon as the bell rang, Daniel Bryan countered the Skull-Crushing Finale into a cradle and scored the flash win in less than three minutes. This was a bit of a shame, as it would have been nice to see these two go at it properly, but it was an exciting way to hand Miz some comeuppance and propel Bryan towards the WWE Championship. I’m assuming it’ll be a triple threat involving Joe, or that Joe will interfere and get the match thrown out to set up a triple threat, but the idea of Bryan and AJ fighting for the belt is exciting. Maybe the Miz can talk trash about how he has proven he can beat Bryan in the past and get himself inserted in there for a fatal-four way as I think I talked about some time ago?
The main event went to Undertaker and Triple H, surprising no one; ‘Taker’s entrance lasted longer than the Miz/Bryan match! This match was also made no disqualification, ensuring that these guys could use all the bells, whistles, smoke, and mirrors possible to cover for the fact that ‘Taker looked like he was going to die from exhaustion at any moment. The issue here was the length; the match went nearly thirty minutes and most of it was a plodding, dull affair full of stumbling spots and dead space. This was all about setting up towards the tag team match between these four guys and getting Shawn Michaels riled up enough to want to come back to the ring, and Kane and ‘Taker’s desire to crush Hunter’s larynx with a chair. In the end, HBK hit Kane with a Low Blow and then clocked ‘Taker with Sweet Chin Music, which allowed Triple H to smash his head in with the sledgehammer, hit the Pedigree, and finally get his win back. Similar to the Triple H/Sting clash from that WrestleMania, all four guys hugged and posed after wards? Which would have really riled me up (seriously, why would you respect the guy/s who just hit you with a sledgehammer to win!?) but Kane and ‘Taker realised it was daft and attacked them, which eventually led to HBK being Chokeslammed through the announce table.
Triple H and Shawn Michaels kicked off the show this week like it’s 1998 again or something. Apparently, getting the tar beaten out of you after you’ve won a match through cheating really rubbed these guys the wrong way so they challenge the Under and Kane to a tag team match at Crown Jewel, surprising no one. I can’t say that the idea of D-Generation-X taking on the Brothers of Destruction isn’t an appealing one…if it was, as I said, 1998 but, after the shit they put on at Super Show-Down, they better up their game for Shawn’s big in-ring return.
Bobby Lashley and Kevin Owens went at it again; throughout the match, Lio Rush worked the mic, talking shit about Owens, and apparently turning Lashley heel in the process. Lashley followed suit, using his strength and power to dominate Owens for the win. After the match, Lashley attacked Kevin’s knee, smashing it into the ring post a few times for good measure and, later, interrupted Finn Balor and Bayley to truly cement the heel turn. I’m not entirely sure why they thought it’d be a good idea to turn Owens face and Lashley heel, considering Owens is such a natural heel and Lashley hasn’t really had a chance to sink his teeth into anything decent as a face. Plus, like, Lashley is a pretty decent talker and doesn’t really need a manager to speak for him so Lio is just pissing everyone off for no good reason.
Elias went back to cutting promos where he taunts the crowd and a particular wrestler (in this case, John Cena and his dorky hair cut), before being interrupted by a female. This week, it was Ronda Rousey, who teamed up with Nikki and Brie Bella to face the Riott Squad for our first of many Super Show-Down rematches. Ronda and the Bellas won again but, this time, Nikki and Brie attacked Ronda afterwards to set up what is sure to be a diabolical match at Evolution.
Speaking of rematches, Finn and Bayley were in intergender action next against Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox, which happened on the Mixed Match Challenge. It’s sad to see Finn spinning his wheels like this but maybe a bit of a feud with Mahal might help him get back on track a bit and also help (or, at least, suggestion) Jinder to improve a bit. Either way, the good news is that Finn and Bayley won.
There’s going to be a World Cup at Crown Jewel, apparently, and a bunch of superstars have to have matches to qualify for it (well, not John Cena; he got in automatically because…it’s Cena? And that’s apparently enough?). As a result, we got a battle royal, which saw Baron Corbin toss out a bunch of no-name nobody jobbers…at least until a mysterious conquistador threw some Suplexes at him, landed an Angle Slam, and tossed Corbin before revealing himself to be Kurt Angle!
Nia Jax and Ember Moon decided to have a little friendly bout next; Nia ended up losing via count out after she stupidly missed a charge on the outside and clocked herself pretty good. We didn’t get much of a chance to care about Ember’s win as Trish Stratus popped out to hype her match against Alexa Bliss at Evolution. Alexa and Mickie James talked some trash to her and ended up booking herself into a tag team match against Trish and…Lita! Am I the only one who finds it a little odd that the WWE are bringing back so many (I say “so many” but it’s probably only two or three) retired female wrestlers for Evolution to face current competitors?
After losing singles matches the last few weeks, Bobby Roode and Chad Gable geared up to face the Ascension in tag team action once more. Similar to the last time this match happened, I believe, Roode had the match won but then Chad tagged himself in to take the win, which appeared to upset Roode a bit. It’s too bad that Chad and Roode haven’t exactly made much of an impact as a tag team for me to care about the dissension between these two. Afterwards, the Authors of Pain kicked everyone’s asses, because that’s what a dominating tag team should do.
The main event of the night was a rematch of the six-man tag team match between the Shield and Braun Strowman, Dolph Ziggler, and Drew McIntyre. While it does annoy me that we’re getting exactly the same match so quickly, kudos to these guys for competing so soon after their trip to and from Australia. This contest was probably better than their Super Show-Down clash but, similar to the Ronda/Bellas match from earlier, we got a few added twists here: some cracks appear to be forming between Braun and his cronies, specifically relating to Ziggler’s contributions to the team (which I find amusing, as McIntyre is the one who hasn’t held any gold recently), however this didn’t stop Drew from pinning Dean Ambrose with the Claymore. The biggest twist was that, despite all his claims to be for the brotherhood and his buddies, Dean wasn’t happy about losing or being pinned so he walked out after the match. If Dean’s really going to turn, it might be a better idea for him to jump to SmackDown! Live rather than try a heel run on Raw.
The Blue Brand immediately began with a rematch between Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch (the girls didn’t even get entrances!), with the stipulation that the belt would change hands on a disqualification. The feud between these two has apparently reached boiling point since Super Show-Down as they ended up brawling out of the ring and up to entrance ramp. This led to a count out and Becky being speared through the LED board, and their clash at Evolution being booked as a Last Woman Standing match.
Jeff Hardy and Samoa Joe fought to qualify for the World Cup…I assume this will be an actual trophy of some kind? I’m not sure the WWE really knows what the World Cup is…anyway, Joe was selling the knee injury from Super Show-Down, which Jeff took advantage of. Joe ended up so banged up and hurt that the referee called the match off and named Jeff the winner, which is kind of weird; Joe didn’t look particularly strong despite not being pinned and, since he wasn’t fit to compete, it seemed a bit unfair to just award the win to Jeff.
The Miz stirred the pot between Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles on Miz TV next; Bryan and AJ, however, largely ignored him in order to focus on building a rivalry based on the mutual desire to have a great match. To emphasise this, Shelton Benjamin got the chance to face AJ Styles in a non-title match which was, again, another chance to show off how big a star Shelton could be if the WWE actually bothered to give him something to do. Obviously, AJ won; it’ll be interesting to see if we can get something exciting happen between Styles and Bryan before their match for a change.
Lana hijacked the production truck next to show that Aiden English has been blowing smoke out of his ass the last few weeks, airing the full tape he was threatening to show, which basically amounted to him trying it on with Lana and her knocking him back. Aiden tried to save face by giving Rusev one last chance to ditch Lana and reform their tag team, but Rusev simply attacked him instead.
The Big Show is on SmackDown! Live now, apparently, and to celebrate he got a match against Randy Orton to see who’ll be in the World Cup. I like Big Show but you have to admit that he’s pretty much done at this point; his cage match against Strowman really was a great way to pass the torch and step away with dignity. Instead, he’s apparently got a bit more in him, but it wasn’t enough to win as Orton used the eye poke and the RKO to advance.