Less than two weeks until Battleground and we are just over one week away until the brand extension and boy did it take its sweet time getting here. In just eight days we will know all of the WWE Superstars’ new homes. Despite it being just around the corner, we don’t actually know much about how it’s going to work. Who will be running each show? How many pay per views are we going to have? How exactly will the draft work? Is anyone exempt? Can we please, for the love of god, get some answers this week?
Last week on Raw, it was the special Fourth of July edition and I would like to pretend that it never happened. But to summarise, America is still the best, Rusev did away with Titus O’Neil for good (hopefully), Enzo & Cass have aligned themselves with John Cena, New Day have accepted The Wyatt Family’s challenge to meet them in their compound and Zack Ryder won in the main event. It was a strange episode, but this week looks better as Vince McMahon is in the house tonight, so let’s get to it!
We start with a good old fashioned Battle Royal and the winner will be the number one contender for The Miz’s Intercontinental Championship at Battleground. From the outset, it looked more like a tag team Battle Royal when you saw the participants. The Vaudevillians, Ascension, Social Outcasts, Usos, Golden Truth and Dudley Boyz were all in it so you only had a handful of realistic winners to choose from and no it wasn’t Jack Swagger (It’s never Jack Swagger).
But it’s a shocker, Darren Young has escaped the split screen and managed to accidentally win the Battle Royal after Corbin and Crews fell out together. Bob Backlund who was at ringside is so excited that he runs into the ring and lifts Darren up like a newlywed. I think this is the first time they’ve been in the same room together, so they may have been excited for that too.
It’s the second to last week where I can say this, it’s time for a Smackdown rematch because for another eight days, Smackdown doesn’t matter. Zack Ryder won the main event of Raw last week and then defeated Sheamus on Smackdown, so it’s Zack Ryder vs. Sheamus once again. Backstage earlier, Ryder challenged Rusev to a U.S Title match but Sheamus attacked him from behind. Ryder needs to keep the momentum going this week…
So naturally, Sheamus beats him clean with a Brogue Kick. For the second time in four months, Ryder’s momentum has been completely derailed for no reason. Rusev appears after the match and locks in The Accolade and screams “I ACCEPT YOUR CHALLENGE”. Guess this will be an easy defense for Rusev, we just saw the challenger beaten decisively.
Moving on to tag team action as The Lucha Dragons face Breezango and Breezango continue to be a shining light in the tag division. On the Raw pre-show, Sin Cara threw a drink in Breeze’s face and his fur coat, Tyler screamed “THIS IS MONGOLIAN CHINCHILLA!” They are brilliant and you should love them as much as I do. Anyway, commentary don’t give a damn about this match as it’s only happening so they can talk about the draft and how tag teams like these are vulnerable to being split up. Breezango gets the win with a beautiful kick from Tyler to Kalisto and I’m smiling a lot right now.
I’m just going to leave this post match interview with Breezango here as to why I love Breezango so much. Also Tyler Breeze is Team Instinct on Pokemon Go, so I now have a deeper allegiance to him.
In WWE at the moment, we have many talk shows. The Highlight Reel, MizTV and The Ambrose Asylum but tonight we’re debuting a new one with “The Rollins Report”. Seth will be “interviewing” Roman Reigns about his suspension and it’s smarmy Seth Rollins at his absolute best. Clipping past interviews from Roman Reigns together like it’s Homer Simpson on an episode of ‘Rock Bottom’. Following the video Dean Ambrose appears.
Seth still wants his one on one match for the WWE Title and Dean Ambrose says he can have it, anytime and any place. But Seth says not tonight and he’ll see him next week. Later on in the night it’s confirmed that next week it will be Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship the night before the draft. I loved this segment, everything about it was fantastic. Dean Ambrose gave his best promo in an extremely long time and Seth campaigning for Reigns to be removed from Battleground has been entertaining every week. Sadly though, Roman is still in it and we won’t see him until Battleground. I hope he’s enjoying his rest.
Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro is up next and Sami Zayn is out at ringside for commentary for the match, or so we thought. Kevin Owens refuses to go out there until Sami is ejected from ringside, so Stephanie sends out some referees to remove Sami from commentary. As Sami is leaving he crosses paths with Owens. So naturally they fight like cats and dogs until they’re separated. Time for the match itself now!
I don’t think that Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens could ever disappoint and this is no exception. Kevin Owens gets the win with a neckbreaker and goes over to the commentary table and starts saying how he’s the best in the world at everything until Sami Zayn literally flies into shot and attacks KO. He sends Owens into the ring where Cesaro swings him a bunch. Lovely.
Moving on now to Heath Slater vs. Titus O’Neil and this match doesn’t matter as it’s more time for commentators to talk about the draft. Titus wins and no-one cares.
Do you remember Matt & Jeff Hardy? Those two brothers who jumped off ladders for WWE fifteen years ago and both have gone balls out insane these last 6 years? Well last week on TNA Impact Wrestling (where they now compete) they did a thing called ‘The Final Deletion’. It was stupid backyard wrestling with bad acting, horrible camera work and it was just awful. It’s the Sharknado of wrestling. For better or worse, it generated a lot of buzz on social media and WWE can’t let anyone upstage them at anything so now they’re doing… This.
Last week The New Day accepted the challenge from The Wyatts to go to their compound. This week we see what went down and the production of it is so shaky it’s hard to work out everything that’s happening. Just watch it so you’re as lost as I am. I just wish both companies would stop doing these things, I’m really not a fan of it. Stop making me hate wrestling you guys, it’s one of the only things I have in life!
On to the ongoing saga of John Cena vs. The Club. This week Cena’s new allies Enzo & Big Cass will be facing Gallows & Anderson. Since last week, the #BeatUpJohnCena took off and it’s sort of amazing. The match was going quite well but it gets thrown out once AJ Styles interferes on the outside, throwing Cass into the crowd. This leaves the three members of The Club circling Enzo until John Cena’s music hits. Cena was previously thought to be in LA where he was rehearsing to host The ESPYS. Cena, Enzo & Big Cass clear the ring.
Nice story progression here. There’s not a lot to fault as both teams were kept relatively strong going into their six-man tag encounter at Battleground. AJ Styles is really coming into his own as a top heel for WWE.
Finally after two and a half hours we’re getting to the women’s division. Sasha Banks vs. Dana Brooke this week as Sasha is looking to prove that she is indeed worthy to challenge for the Womens Championship. Thankfully in the two months that Dana has been on the main roster, she has improved and considering her prominent role on the show, she had no choice but to. Perfectly fine match with Sasha getting the win with the Banks Statement.
Charlotte tells Sasha that if she beats Dana again on Smackdown this week that maybe she might see Sasha as being a worthy contender. Charlotte’s promo was pretty good until the very end where they had a small exchange that sort of ended abruptly. It was weird but other than that, I’d give this a thumbs up. The only thing is Charlotte still needs to not SHOUT AT THE END OF HER SENTENCES. It’s super annoying. Volume control, girl.
Mr. McMahon makes his return for the first time since Payback where he put Shane and Stephanie both in charge of Raw and he’s here tonight to name the new Commissioner of Smackdown. All three McMahon’s are in the ring and Vince starts off by saying how disappointed he is in Shane and Stephanie. Vince says Stephanie was no longer the person she used to be, trying to act all nice and get along with her brother while Shane has lost the ruthless aggression he used to have. Both Shane and Stephanie plead their case to run Smackdown. Vince ultimately decides that Shane will run Smackdown and Stephanie will run Raw.
After their respective celebrations, Vince tells them that this time he really wants them to compete for real this time in every facet from television ratings, social media to merchandise sales and he doesn’t care if they break the law because one of them just might inherit the company in the future. Vince also adds that both shows will also need a General Manager too. Shane and Stephanie will each name their own GM’s next week and if they don’t, Vince will choose someone for them. Stephanie slaps Shane while Shane kisses Stephanie on the cheek. Let the games begin!
I was initially disappointed with the lackluster announcement that it would just be a McMahon on each side, but the fact that now there will be General Managers added to the fold means a new layer of unpredictability. Hopefully they are face authority figures because the standard heel authority dynamic has been in effect since AJ Lee was replaced by Vickie Guerrero at the end of 2012. Also the old school fan in me loves they’ve brought the ‘Commissioner’ title back.
Hey, at least it was better than last week. I saw so many people on Twitter crapping on the show this week and honestly I think it was quite undeserved. I’m not saying it was great but it really wasn’t as bad as people were making it out to be. Let’s look at the positives of the show.
Darren Young made his re-debut in a surprising and entertaining fashion, Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro was fun to watch as always, we’re getting some answers as to how this brand extension is going to function, The Rollins Report segment was fantastic and we have a massive championship main event booked for next week. Plus most importantly, Breezango won.
Not a week to write home about, but let’s remember how bad last week was. Remember? Remember how bad it was? Good, now look at this week. Seems a bit better right? Bring on the draft and lets get this over with!
Final Rating: 6/10