Samoa Joe kicked things off this week by randomly coming out to the ring to declare his innocence in the near-miss Roman Reigns experienced last week, which sounds exactly like the sort of thing a guilty man would say! This seamlessly transitioned into a classic odd-couple tag team match as Becky Lynch and Charlotte teamed up against Trish Stratus and Natalya; strangely enough, this didn’t really lead to either team having much difficulty in co-habitating and the only real note-worthy thing to say was that Natalya never tagged in Trish (rendering her appearance pretty pointless) and got herself disqualified when she wouldn’t break the Sharpshooter.
Rey Mysterio and Andrade went at it again after this; seriously, I have lost count of how many times these guys have fought. Also, since Andrade tore Mysterio’s mask last week and we pretty much saw his face (if only briefly), shouldn’t Rey be back to his unmasked, Filthy Animals look now? I guess not because he didn’t “officially” get unmasked but whatever. Speaking of which, though, Andrade managed t get the advantage by going for the mask again and got the win with the Hammerlock DDT after Zelina Vega also got involved and all I can think is that I am nearly 100% sure that we’ll see these two fight at least one more time before this is all said and done.
In another riveting skit, Mike Kanellis pinned Maria while she was visiting her baby doctor but instantly lost the 24/7 Championship to R-Truth as he tried to escape with the belt. After that, Becky Lynch and Natalya exchanged some words ahead of their SummerSlam match and Brock Lesnar graced us with his presence; fed up with Paul Heyman’s slander, Seth Rollins attack but instantly fell once Lesnar attacked his ribs and ended up being destroyed by a few F5s.
The Viking Raiders decimated another couple of nameless, faceless jobbers; maybe they should team these guys with Braun Strowman and form a big, meaty stable? Afterwards, Kurt Angle randomly threw on a referee shirt to officiate a match between Drew McIntyre and Cedric Alexander but, before anything could really happen, Bray Wyatt (as the Fiend) interrupted to choke out Angle with the Mandible Claw. I am super happy to see Wyatt continuing to use the Mandible Claw, I think that’s a great addition to his arsenal, though I’m not entirely sure how attacking Angle helps his feud with Finn Balor.
AJ Styles got involved in the O.C.’s tag team match against Big E and Xavier Woods, which of course meant that it turned into a six-man tag team match when Kofi Kingston Ricochet made the save. Despite them being pretty evenly matched throughout, I’m happy to say that the O.C. got the win with the Magic Killer; I just wish that their recent booking was more dependable to help keep them consistently strong.
Samoa Joe returned to again state his innocence and call out Roman reigns; he waited around in the ring for an eternity before Reigns pulled up in the car park. However, when Joe went out there to confront him, Rikishi tried to run reigns over with a car!
Okay, so we don’t see who the driver was (obviously) and Reigns dodged back into his vehicle but took some minor damage, but the best thing was Joe suddenly switching to being concerned for Roman’s health and checking to make sure he was okay! Either he’s a complete hypocrite or he’s setting up the perfect alibi…but it was probably Rikishi.
The final match of the night saw the Iiconics put the Women’s Tag Team Championships on the line against Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville, Kari Sane and Io Shirai Asuka, and Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross in an elimination tag team match. This saw all four teams competing at the same time, though obviously with only two competitors at a time. the Iiconics ate the first pin pretty soon into the match, bringing an inauspicious end to their run with the belts; honestly, I get (and even like) the idea of having paper champions who don’t really deserve the belt they’re carrying but the WWE really should have had the Iiconics cheat or duck their opponents more and then be resoundingly, and cathartically, defeated in a straight-up tag team contest by a super-over babyface team to make the most out of that concept. Instead, Alexa and Nikki won here, throwing a bit more intrigue and fuel into their issues.
Raw ended with the Miz and Dolph Ziggler having a good, old fashioned contract signing but, after Ziggler signed the contract with little fuss or fanfare, Miz revealed that he’d picked a substitute for himself in the match. Ziggler obviously suspected that it’s Shawn Michaels but, because that would actually make sense, it turned out to instead be…Goldberg…? Wait…what? Why the fuck is Goldberg getting involved in this? Is this the Miz’s new gimmick, that he’s all buddy-buddy with WWE legends and uses them to fight his battles? And, also, there seemed to be actual interest and buzz around the idea of Ziggler facing HBK so why the hell would you suddenly throw Goldberg in there when he could be facing anyone else or someone more appropriate, like Drew McIntyre, Bobby Lashley, Braun Strowman, Samoa Joe, Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt…anyone! but Dolph Ziggler!
Charlotte Flair graced us with her presence at the top of the show this week to crow about her SummerSlam match with Trish Stratus; Trish, understandably annoyed with Charlotte’s words, eventually interrupted, threw some words Charlotte’s way, and then slapped her in the face.
Dolph Ziggler and Rey Mysterio were up next, with Ziggler imitating Goldberg for his entrance and attack Rey before the bell could even ring. It quickly turned into an all-out brawl, with referees and WWE staff rushing to break the two up. With Rey unable to compete, Ali stepped up to take on Ziggler instead but, despite putting up a good fight, Ziggler won with a Superkick. This was a great way to make Ziggler look like an utter sadistic bastard, which ultimately will mean nothing when Goldberg steamrollers over him at SummerSlam.
Ember Moon and Natalya went at it next; however, as obviously neither woman could afford to lose going into SummerSlam, this went to a count out when Natalya got Ember in the Sharpshooter on the outside and wouldn’t let go. Really, these two shouldn’t have been fighting at all.
Shane McMahon was Kevin Owens’ guest on The Kevin Owens Show and the two got into a verbal exchange regarding their SummerSlam match, with Owens criticising Shane for not putting anything on the line in their match while he (Owens) is putting his career on the line (…for some reason). Elias attacked, but Owens fought him off, but of course Shane then beat the hell out of Owens with a steel chair and toppled the announce table onto him.
Aleister Black and Sami Zayn faced off on SmackDown! Live this week rather than having their match at SummerSlam because…I dunno, I guess the WWE have lost faith in Aleister already? Seems likely. Anyway, Sami tried to ground Aleister and keep him on the defensive but still fell to the Black Mass with little fuss or fanfare.
Rather than making that long-awaiting career-changing announcement, Daniel Bryan made his return to television by teaming up with Rowan against Big E and Xavier Woods; this match was just building up to something exciting when Rowan smashed Xavier with the steel steps to get himself and Bryan disqualified. Then, backstage, after some…persuasion…Buddy Murphy told Roman Reigns that Rowan was behind the recent attempts on his life, which seemed to rattle Bryan and Rowan.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match: Drew Gulak (c) vs. Oney Lorcan
Sami Zayn and Aleister Black apparently got bumped off the card for this match; I’m glad to see a fresh face involved in the Cruiserweight Championship scene but I don’t see him winning here and am going to pick Drew Gulak to retain and keep his reign going a little longer.
WWE United States Championship Match: AJ Styles (c) vs. Ricochet
I quite like the idea of AJ Styles took the United States Championship off Ricochet as part of their feud, though it did sort of mess up Ricochet’s first main roster title reign; I can only assume that the endgame is to have Ricochet regain the belt, having overcome AJ and his O.C. buddies but I honestly don’t see that happening here. For one thing, the O.C. really don’t need to be losing, much less losing their championships since they’ve reunited, so I’m going to pick AJ Styles to retain, most likely through shenanigans that will probably force Ricochet to find a couple of buddies for a six-man tag team match, potentially with all the belts up for grabs.
SmackDown! Live Women’s Championship Match: Bayley (c) vs. Ember Moon
Bayley hand-picked Ember Moon to be her opponent and I couldn’t be happier; I am so sick of seeing the same faces involved in the Women’s Championship scene and we’ve waited way too long for Ember to get her dues. I’m actually going to go against the grain here and pick Ember Moon to win in a shocking upset that will push Bayley over the edge, making her snap, turn heel, and attack Ember after the match.
Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt
Again, I am very impressed with Wyatt’s new Fiend persona; the Firehouse Funhouse segments didn’t really wow me and were a bit weird but the creepy mask, the flashing lights, and the Mandible Claw have all helped to instantly renew Wyatt and give him some credibility back. Feuding with Balor is a great way to reintroduce the character and, while I think Balor will take the loss her but come out on top in the follow-up match, I’d really like to see the WWE get behind this new Wyatt after this feud and have him be the one who dethrones Kofi Kingston. So, yeah, Bray Wyatt to win here.
WWE Championship Match: Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Randy Orton
Kofi’s booking since he won the WWE Championship has really been a breath of fresh air; he looked super credible facing Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles, overcame Samoa Joe’s brutality, and now gets to establish and legitimise himself further by putting to rest his issues with, and taking out a veteran competitor in, Randy Orton. Seriously, Orton has no business winning any World Championships any time soon so I’m thinking we’ll either see Kofi Kingston retain or Orton win by disqualification, leading to another contest next month before my fantasy booking kicks in and Kofi becomes the next target for the Fiend.
Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon
Kevin Owens’ career is on the line in this match, so I’m guessing Shane McMahon will win so that we have the must-see TV of Shane gloating and being a smug asshole about “retiring” Owens for weeks on end before Owens miraculously returns (in, oh, let’s say, two weeks?) to beat up Shane and then lose to him again.
Raw Women’s Championship Submission Match: Becky Lynch (c) vs. Natalya Natalya…seriously? I mean, I like Nattie but, c’mon! Why is this match even happening? I mean, Ruby Riott is right there! The only good thing, the only good thing, about this is that it’s not Alexa Bliss and, when motivated, Natalya is a good hand but Becky doesn’t really need to be facing Nattie at this point so, no, I don’t see Natalya winning (…unless she gets disqualified again) and this one goes to Becky Lynch.
Goldberg vs. Dolph Ziggler
I can’t rant enough about how stupid and pointless this match is; not only does this neuter the Miz and deny us a match between Ziggler and Shawn Michaels, this will also throw a final salvo of dirt onto Ziggler’s grave once Goldberg destroys him in about fifteen seconds.
Trish Stratus vs. Charlotte Flair
Yeah, if you think this match won’t be somewhere near the top of the card or, at least, above the Raw Women’s Championship match then you’re (a) an idiot, (b) forgetting that Trish Stratus is involved in the match, and (c) forgetting that this is “The Queen”, Charlotte Flair, and that she can’t possibly be overshadowed by anyone else or not involved in some kind of spotlight-hogging storyline. Also, because she so totally needs the rub, I’m fairly sure we’ll see Charlotte Flair win here and either transition back to fighting for the belt with Bayley or get thrown into the championship mix with Bayley and Ember.
WWE Universal Championship Match: Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Seth Rollins
Brock Lesnar wins, because as little sense as it makes to have Lesnar once again holding that God-awful red belt, it makes even less sense to have him only hold it for a month or so and deny us yet another WrestleMania main event where the plucky, underdog babyface has to dethrone the unbeatable monster.