This Week In Wrestling

ThisWeekInWrestling

StompingGrounds

Winners: Drew Gulak, Becky Lynch, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, Ricochet, Daniel Bryan and Rowan, Bayley, Roman Reigns, Kofi Kingston, and Seth Rollins.

The Cruiserweight Championship featured on the kickoff show as Tony Nese defended against Akira Tozawa and Drew Gulak; I may not follow 205 Live but this was a pretty fun, fast-paced sprint between all three of these guys. Each guy got plenty of time to shine as they threw moves at each other but, in the end, Gulak got the win with the Argentine Cutter to win the belt. No doubt this will lead to a rematch between Drew and Nese later down the line but I also hope to see some new faces involved in the championship scene going forward as it always seems to be the same guys vying for the belt.

From the main event of WrestleMania to the opening match of a throwaway pay-per-view, the Raw Women’s Championship was up next as Becky Lynch put the belt on the line against Lacey Evans. Becky worked a grounded game in the early going but, after a bit of a botch in the corner, Lacey took over on the outside and started working over Becky’s ribs. The action ramped up a bit near the end as they both frantically tried to put each other away but, in the end, it was Becky locking in the Dis-Arm-Her that saw a successful defence for the champion.

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn took on Xavier Woods and Big E next; the heels started off strong, with Owens throwing Superkicks and a Swanton at Xavier and Zayn landing the Blue Thunder Bomb and Owens finally landing a Frog Splash, all for little more than a two count. Owens and Zayn isolated Xavier for the remainder of the mid-portion of the match until Woods made the hot tag to Big E. despite going on a rampage, it all descended into chaos as they all just went at each other and, in the melee, Owens managed to hit a Stunner and pin Xavier to sneak away with the win.

The United States Championship was up next as Ricochet challenged Samoa Joe; Joe went on the attack right away, forcing Ricochet into the defensive, but Joe constantly went at him with the intent on hurting him. Joe managed to get the Coquina Clutch locked in, only for Ricochet to flip over the ropes and counter it; he then rolled through a 630 Splash, landed a Codebreaker, and finally landed the 630 to capture the belt to rapturous applause and congratulations.

Daniel Bryan and Rowan defended the SmackDown! Live Tag Team Championships against Heavy Machinery next; apparently, Heavy Machinery are babyfaces, which I don’t think I knew, but the crowd was more interested in cheering for the hometown hero, Daniel Bryan. In any case, Tucker and Otis found themselves on the defensive despite their size and strength, with Bryan tenderising Tucker and Rowan landing the big power moves to maintain the control. Although Tucker looked to turn the tide near the end, Bryan managed to get the victory with a surprise small package.

The SmackDown! Live Women’s Championship was up next as Bayley took on Alexa Bliss; Nikki Cross was at ringside, though she didn’t really factor into the match into the final stretch, which allowed Bayley and Alexa to have a pretty decent, energetic confrontation. Nikki’s interference actually worked against Alexa, though, and allowed Bayley to counter Twisted Bliss, landed the Bayley-To-Belly, and retain the championship.

Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre were next; things started as a wild brawl but the momentum soon swung into Drew’s favour as Reigns got distracted with Shane McMahon, who was at ringside. Any time Reigns even thought about mounting a comeback, Drew was there to ground, pound, or power him down or Shane was there with the cheap shots and the distractions, which once again painted Reigns as a struggling underdog, forcing him to endure a tremendous beating until, of course, he made the big comeback. Reigns kicked out of a Coast-To-Coast (after the referee got taken out), countered a Claymore into the Superman Punch, chucked Shane out of the ring, and pinned McIntyre with a Spear. Here’s hoping that Drew gets to move away from being Roman’s punching bag and Shane’s underling going forward.

The steel cage was lowered in place next for the WWE Championship match between Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler; after trying to escape early, Ziggler took an early lead and used the cage to his advantage to wear Kofi down. Kofi eventually made a comeback and the match got on to more equally footing, with both guys stopping the other from trying to escape, Ziggler kicking out of an SOS, and Kofi kicking out of a Zig-Zag. In the end, Ziggler raked Kofi’s eyes and tried to scramble away but Kofi simply leapt over him with a Suicide Dive to win the match and retain the title.

Finally, we ended with the Universal Championship match between Seth Rollins and Baron Corbin and, after all the messing about and teasing, the special guest referee was…Lacey Evans…Corbin attacked immediately and used a steel chair to beat Rollins down before the bell rang. Corbin attacked on the outside as the crowd chanted for AEW (which had to be a bit embarrassing) and maintained control on the inside until Rollins hit the Sling Blade and the Blockbuster. After a bit more back and forth that saw Rollins Powerbomb Corbin through an announce table, Corbin beat a slo-o-ow count from Lacey and then hit a Chokeslam on the ring apron, and in the ring, but only managed a two count. Lacey faked an arm injury right as Rollins went for a potential pin fall and then refused to count at all after a Falcon Arrow onto a steel chair, leading to Rollins getting in her face, only to get a big ol’ slap to the face and a low blow for his troubles. Corbin hit the End of Days but Becky Lynch ran down to even the odds, attacking Lacey and allowing Rollins to hit the Superkick and the Stomp to retain after much chicanery.

Raw

Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch opened the show (since, y’know, they’re a couple now) only to be immediately interrupted by Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans. You don’t really need me to tell you this but this all set-up a mixed tag team match at Extreme Rules between the four that will also see the Universal and Raw Women’s Championship on the line in a winner take all match.

Afterwards, Xavier Woods, Big E, and the Usos teamed up to take on Daniel Bryan, Rowan, and the Revival in a tag team elimination match; despite a bit of dissension between them in the early going, the heels were able to take control until Xavier rolled Bryan up after a miscommunication between him and Scott Dawson. Xavier was soon gone, thanks to a Shatter Machine, reducing this down to a regular tag team match. While the Revival managed to take Jimmy out with a Superplex, Jey leapt in from nowhere as the legal man to pin Dawson and win the match.

After exchanging some words on Miz TV, R-Truth put the 24/7 Championship on the line against Drake Maverick and pretty much immediately pinned Drake. Great stuff. Afterwards, Shane McMahon was back in the ring and taking up screen time with Drew McIntyre to take on Roman Reigns; as you might expect, this was nothing less than a beat down of Reigns, so much so that he needed to be saved…by the Undertaker, of all people! ‘Taker arrived, Chokeslammed Shane, and beat up Drew for a disqualification finish but also to set-up a tag team match at Extreme Rules.

Afterwards, Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley had a tug of war…Lashley choked Braun a bit with the rope and raked it over his eyes…it was weird. The Viking Raiders defeated the Club after that, much to AJ Styles’ chagrin; I guess it’s going to be a slow burn through a bunch of humiliating losses before the Club get back on track, which hardly screams “dominance” to me.

R-Truth was back after that to trade the 24/7 Championship around; he lost it to Heath Slater, who promptly lost it to R-Truth, who was then defeated by Cedric Alexander, who was then pinned by EC3, who was finally beaten by R-Truth. I guess it’s a fun kind of chaos but, still…chaos, nonetheless.

After getting into a slanging match with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, Kofi Kingston took on Zayn once more time to try and shut his snarky mouth up. Despite Owens being at ringside, Kofi managed to get the win after awkwardly countering the Blue Thunder Bomb into a pin after a pretty solid match. Owens immediately got his shot at Kofi straight afterwards, though, but things ended even worse for him as he ended up taking a nasty-looking SOS out on the ramp, getting counted out in the process. However, Kofi was then attacked mercilessly by Samoa Joe, who smashed him into the LED board at the top of the ramp and then hit a sick Uranage on the ramp itself.

Alexa Bliss defeated Naomi in no time at all but, because we’re not allowed wrestling during commercial breaks, she immediately got back into the ring against Naomi for a tag team match, with Nikki Cross teaming with Alexa and Natalya teaming with Naomi. Regardless, Alexa and Nikki got the win anyway after Alexa stole the pin from Nikki to keep their slow burn burning.

Raw ended with an exhibition match between Ricochet and AJ Styles, which was a spectacular way to finish the show; it’s a bit of a shame that Seth Rollins hasn’t been able to have exhibition matches of this kind of calibre since winning the Universal Championship but, y’know, gotta give Corbin that push. Regardless, these two were more than willing to showcase some high flying, technical action that, in the end, saw AJ win with a Phenomenal Forearm. It’s not a great look for the newly-crowned United Stats Champion to lose right after winning the belt, but the match was worth it and, hopefully, this won’t be the last time these two go at it.

SmackDownLive

Shane McMahon took up more of my life by claiming to not be afraid of the Undertaker and vowing to take out Roman Reigns once and for all at Extreme Rules which, at this point, is probably quite likely to happen. After that, Kofi Kingston and the New Day talked a bit about Samoa Joe’s attack but ended up being interrupted by Dolph Ziggler; Ziggler, unable to let go of his defeats and his issues, then managed to book himself into a match against Kofi to try and get another shot at the title. I’m actually glad about this, though, as it’s always a bit weird when challengers for the World Championship just give up after a few losses.

Xavier Woods and Big E stuck around a bit afterwards to take on Daniel Bryan and Rowan, which saw the New Day get the win with the Midnight Hour. While it was an entertaining match, it’s not really a good look for the SmackDown! Live Tag Team Champions to lose two nights in a row, but then I guess it is the easiest way to set them up with potential challengers…

Speaking of which, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn attacked after the match, which naturally led into an eight-man tag team match between the New Day and Heavy Machinery, Owens, Zayn, Bryan, and Rowan, which is a lot of ring action for the New Day. Anyway, the match started as a brawl that soon slowed to the heels isolating Tucker. What is it with Heavy Machinery being worked over in tag team matches lately? They’re both huge guys who don’t really work as faces-in-peril. Anyway, Tucker soon made the hot tag to Otis and things kicked up a notch, leading to the Compactor finishing the match for the faces.

The Miz and Elias went at it in a two-out-of-three-falls match, with the stipulation being that the Miz would get the face Shane one more time if he won. Although both men got a fall each, we were spared one more match between Shane and Miz and some more dirt was thrown on the Miz’s credibility when Shane hit the Miz with a Spear between falls, which allowed Elias to hit a Diving Elbow Drop and get the win.

Nikki Cross and Bayley were up next, with Nikki able to eventually get the better of Bayley when they ended up countering pin attempts. With that victory, Nikki also earned Alexa Bliss another shot at Bayley’s championship, which is a bit odd as Nikki should probably be involved in that match as well seeing as she just pinned the SmackDown! Live Women’s Champion.

Sonya Deville made short work of Ember Moon thanks to Mandy Rose’s distraction before Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler clashed one more time in, what else but a two-out-f-three-falls match. Seriously, two in one night is pushing it a bit but this isn’t going to change any time soon. Anyway, Ziggler kept things grounded for the most part but attacked with far more venom after Kofi scored the first fall, managing to even things out with a Superkick after dodging a corner splash from Kofi. With everything to play for, Kofi countered the Fameasser into a Sit-Out Powerbomb for a great near fall, then they traded counters before Kofi finally managed to hit the Trouble In Paradise for the win and to keep the WWE Championship match at Extreme Rules one-on-one (…for now….).

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