May 6 2018
This got horrendous press live. I’m mostly unspoiled so I’m checking it out anyway. Commentary comes from Corey Graves and the other two idiots. We’re in Newark, New Jersey.
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Seth Rollins (c) vs. The Miz
Miz is on SmackDown now, looking for his record equalling ninth IC title. Rollins is currently the RAW Ace, delivering on every show.
They go full pelt and have great chemistry so it’s all good. Amanda tells me this is the best thing on the show. It’s certainly very heated as Miz is such a contemptible piece of shit. Even though he has fans here he does everything he can to not encourage them. It’s hard work. Meanwhile Seth seems to thrive on having to carry a brand. Seeing as Roman Reigns has completely shit the bed as a fan favourite. Seth is in excellent form and it shows. He’s also got superb cardio and athleticism. The distance and height on his Frogsplash is amazeballs. Miz does a fine job of cutting him off and keeping the match balanced. Seth kneeing the ring post is the best spot in the match as it sets up the Figure Four. I’m not over keen on the Figure Four because Seth just sits in it for ages with what is clearly a big injury problem. Miz also has a few spots where he clearly slaps his thigh but otherwise it’s a great little match with Seth’s selling being so well done. I buy into Miz winning twice, despite there being no way the belt is swapping brands tonight.
Miz does a fine job of showing the fatigue on his body too but it’s Seth’s knee that becomes the focal point. Even on the finish where he hits it, struggles to the cover and somehow wins with one leg. Good logic throughout here and a fantastic opening match.
Final Rating: ****
RAW Women’s Championship
Nia Jax (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
I didn’t like the Mania match. I’ve not been keen on the build to this, although Alexa has been hilarious. That’s the problem. She’s the heel and she’s the entertaining one.
Nia’s timing is off early here and Alexa has to wait for her on a hair pull. The match continues along those lines with somewhat iffy timing but a decent basic plot. The problem with Alexa being the more entertaining character plays into the work too where Nia’s power stuff isn’t as aggressive as it should be. Sometimes it’s good, like the escape from the sleeper and sometimes it’s bad like a couple of half-assed biels as the match gets sluggish.
They do get in some good ideas like Nia being too heavy for Alexa to get her back in the ring after a big spot onto the steps. Alexa shows a lot of maturity in her work here, having learned from her title runs. Both women were green when they came up but Alexa has learned more. Alexa throws herself onto Nia’s shoulders and a half-assed Samoan drop finishes for the champ. This was virtually a carry job from Alexa Bliss. Great performance from her. Nia seems to be becoming even more limited in the ring, which is bizarre. Her conditioning and execution here were poor. The crowd loudly boo her post match promo. If you underperform that’s what you get. People aren’t booing Nia for being overweight, they’re booing her for not performing to an accepted standard.
Final Rating: **3/4
WWE US Championship
Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Randy Orton
I really wish Orton would just take some time off. Go and do something else. He’s so tired. This is the proverbial clash of styles. Big Randy grinding away like we’re in the territories. Jeff flying around like that failed MTV show. They have no chemistry at all. Mainly because Randy is a better flier (dropkick!) and Hardy isn’t particularly good at anything but selling. So Randy works a few chinlocks and I get bored. Most of the action would have been dated ten years ago and the match feels like it’s utterly outdated in every way.
They run the hits, spread out. Randy shuffling into position for the finish. Swanton. Bye.
Final Rating: **
Walk With Elias
Apparently he knows Bruce Springsteen and Bruce actually hates New Jersey. That sounds highly unlikely.
New Day turn up because they want to walk with Elias. “This is like all my nightmares” – Corey. Elias doesn’t like that but Aiden English turns up to make this an all-singing segment. Rusev calls Elias “bootleg Bob Dylan” in a tremendous put down. Another attempt to get the concert underway results in No Way Jose and a big old Titus Worldwide/Fashion Police conga line. This is certainly a ‘segment’. Bobby Roode shows up and hits the DDT on Elias. Roode desperately needs to turn heel. He makes Randy Orton look exciting. Was this little song and dance routine an attempt to make him more interesting?
Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass
I realise they probably had no plans for Bryan as he wasn’t expected to be cleared but throwing him in with Big Cass implies they don’t trust him to stay healthy. They clearly want Bryan to help undercard guys to suck less. Big Cass stinks. I mean, he’s better than Enzo but that’s like saying stepping in dog shit is better than a heart attack. Bryan works around Cass’ limitations by attacking his knee and then kicking the bastard. Cass throws him around a bit. It’s a decent Big Man vs. Small Man match. It just seems like a waste of everyone’s time.
Dan takes Cass down and submits him. This was probably more harmful for Cass than Bryan. He’s a Hall of Famer at the end of the day and Cass stepped up to a midget and lost. Cass attacks after the match. This feud must continue! Yaaaa….ugh. 7 foot tall? I didn’t know they stacked shit that high.
Final Rating: **1/2
Oh hey, Camp WWE is back. Considering getting rid of my subscription. Post show is co-hosted by Pete Rosenberg. Keep all this bullshit coming.
SmackDown Women’s Championship
Carmella (c) vs. Charlotte Flair
Carmella is from Staten Island so she’s over. Charlotte goes to big boot her and we get three feet of air between boot and face. Carmella’s strengths lie in her character, rather than her in ring. Charlotte wrestles circles around her with Mella bringing good vocalisations but sloppy bumps. And lots of chinlocks. Is this WWE testing the waters to see if Charlotte can do the proverbial broomstick match? In all honesty this match is just too long. It doesn’t play into the champ’s strengths at all. She does have a cool finish (the Code of Shame, I mean, Silence). It doesn’t finish but Charlotte tweaks her knee, Carmella superkicks it and rolls Charlotte up to retain. I like the finish but this took time to get going and Carmella is quite bad.
Final Rating: *1/2
AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Commentator Man (Tom, or Frank or whatever the fuck his name is) calls their ‘Mania match a “classic”. In what sense? The Austin Allegro is a ‘classic’ but I wouldn’t want to drive one.
I like how WWE have retconned their take on AJ Styles. He’s gone from scrappy underdog ‘pitbull’ to ‘one of the best wrestlers in the world, ever’ because they found out he could almost anyone to a passable match.
Comms find it surprising this match “starts so slowly”. Did you not watch ‘Mania? I swear they don’t even pay any attention to their own shitty product sometimes. Nakamura’s switch to heel has made him more interesting but AJ does most of the hard work here. WWE know what they’ve got with AJ and because of his advanced years know he won’t be this great forever. AJ has come into WWE really late in his career but in doing so has cemented his legacy and certain Hall of Fame spot because WWE got him at his best. The match is no DQ but they barely play the stipulation at all. It does become quite energised after a slow start. Which is how Nakamura usually rolls (when he can be bothered). They eventually pull a chair in, which Nak nearly falls over and then AJ lands kneecaps first on. They do have one very cool spot where Nakamura goes for Kinshasa and AJ throws the chair at his knee.
The chair somehow ends up flying at AJ’s face and busts his face open. It’s unintentional but it’s cool as fuck. They spend a while killing each other and then the crowd erupt for nut shots. The finish is both of them punting each other in the balls and it’s a count out. I really enjoyed that match. Again it was better than Mania but this was better than the Saudi match too. Obviously the finish irritated people, which makes me like it even more.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
Lashley does nothing for me and Braun feels like he’s sitting around waiting for Roman to screw the pooch again before he takes the top spot off him. Might as well throw them in with KO & Sami but you cannot job the heels here. Unless they have huge plans for Lashley. Bobby takes a lot of the match, leaving Big Braun standing on the apron. When he does come in it’s sensational. He runs over Owens like a truck mowing down a chihuahua. Sami and Kevin get into a fight over whether they should wrestle or not and Sami throws Kevin into the ring to take a shoeing. They’re both assholes. I love it.
Lashley beats a distracted Owens and we’re done here. This was dull until the heels argument. Sami Zayn is doing great work here.
Final Rating: **
Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe
Crowd is very pro Joe.
Mainly because they’re a bunch of fat, outta shape New Jersey sweathogs and they’re just jealous of the Big Dawg. Joe puts Roman through the announce table before the bell and that’s where the match peaks. The crowd decide to chant for “CM Punk” perhaps referencing Samoa Joe’s own classic series of long chinlock based matches with the Chicago grappler. Joe’s offence in this is tedious. The aim being to try and get the crowd to cheer for Roman. Swing and a miss. Joe catching Roman when he goes for the Drive By is a nice touch as Roman’s offence is horribly predictable of late. I’d rather he dodged the Superman Punch too but hey, at least Joe got one spot. The Joe I know wouldn’t stand there waiting to be punched in the mush. Roman spears his way to victory. This was a snoozer.
Final Rating: *1/2
I was hoping this show would be really bad but it isn’t. It’s just not very good. Miz/Rollins and AJ/Nakamura were both really good matches. Everything else was just meh. Including the main. Everything was so bland and uninspired. Is this what abandoning the PPV split is all about? It was supposed to make everything better. And yet here we are.