What’s your favorite scary movie? Mine is the one where the middle aged father loses an eye and his attacker throws up a days meal of Pops cereal and nothing else. WWE did their best to spook us with The Horror Show Sunday night, but let’s see what was bone chilling and what was yawn inducing.
Kevin Owens defeats Murphy (Kickoff)
I was promised a bar fight at this pay per view, but WWE bumped Sheamus vs Jeff Hardy to this week’s SmackDown earlier on Sunday. Instead, we got Kevin Owens vs Murphy on the kickoff, which really just allowed commentary to talk about Seth, Rey, and their newfound eye fetish the whole time. We got Murphy bumping like a lunatic the way he likes to, with a DDT from Owens that spiked his head a few inches into the mat. He got some decent offensive in, but, unsurprisingly, Owens won with a stunner. A nice victory for the man who is reportedly responsible for all mask wearing at the PC. Thanks, Kev.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship: Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro defeat The New Day (Tables Match)
This was a fun, fast paced match to kick things off. To no ones surprise, all four men delivered; the tornado tag rules really helped here, and allowed for some cool multi man spots. Cesaro and Nakamura came out hot, knocking Big E and Kingston into the corners. The New Day came back with Kofi landing a Trust Fall onto Nakamura on the outside. A few table spots were teased, but nobody took the plunge. New Day stacked two tables for maximum crunch sounds, and after a belly to belly from Big E, Kofi tried to hit a hurricanrana and send Cesaro through the double tables. Cesaro was able to hold onto Kingston, and he and Shinsuke tossed Kofi through the tables to win their first tag titles together. They then posed with the titles on one of the intact tables, hitting their angles better than your favorite influencer. A surprising, but not unwelcome result.
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SmackDown Women’s Championship: Bayley defeats Nikki Cross
Nikki definitely made the most of her opportunity here, showing the champ up at several moments with her intensity. After some trash talking from Bayley early on, Cross was able to take control, hitting a neck breaker and a great spinning DDT off the apron on the outside. She even taunted Bayley by doing her old Bayley Buddy imitation before a big splash in the corner. While Alexa Bliss was moral support for Cross, Sasha takes her duty as Bayley’s life partner a little more seriously, and slipped the champ her “boss” ring during an interaction on the apron. Bayley nailed Cross below the ribs with the ring, which let her hit her finisher to retain. Can’t wait for Cross to tweet a picture of her stomach bruised with the word “boss” on it.
MVP Takes One for the Team, Makes Himself US Champion
Apollo Crews was scheduled to face MVP for the United States title here, but Mr Porter and Bobby Lashley came out to announce that as a result of Lashley’s full Nelson last month, Crews was still injured and unable to compete tonight. This lead to MVP crowning himself United States Champion again, as Lashley strapped the belt around his waist. This works fine for the heels, but man, I hope Apollo missed this for reasons that aren’t Covid related.
Seth Rollins defeats Rey Mysterio (Eye for an Eye Match)
So, I wasn’t expecting this kind of match. I thought that we would see some B-movie horror short, where Seth and Rey chased each other around with pliers. Instead, we got a super serious wrestling match, where grown men had to pretend to be sickened by the sight of a Party City Halloween decoration peeking out of Rey Mysterio’s hand. Hm.
This could have been great; Mysterio and Rollins work really well together, but whenever somebody picked up momentum, they would just go for the eye. Seeing two dudes realistically attack each other’s eyes with broken kendo sticks and pens just felt weird. I would have preferred some Game of Thrones level eye gouging to genuinely watching Rey narrowly miss impaling his face on a kendo stick. Mysterio gained some ground after delivering a stomp to Rollins on the outside, and started to drive the Messiah’s head into the corner of the steps. Seth hit a low blow to get free, then landed a stomp on Mysterio. He drove the legendary multi-decade wrestler and father of two into the steps, and, low and behold, popped out his eye. Then he blew chunks ringside. And we all just had to sit there and watch.
Raw Women’s Championship: Sasha Banks Possibly Defeats Asuka
Potentially controversial finish aside, this was hands-down match of the night. The wrestling here was phenomenal, but I expected nothing less from the women involved. They traded counters and submissions, evenly matched on all levels. Sasha hurt her knee about 3/4ths through, but kept going, yelling that she “had to be champion.” Both women really brought their best. Things could have gone either way until Bayley got involved for Banks. She caused a distraction while Asuka had Sasha in the Asuka-lock, which caused the ref to miss Banks tapping out. Asuka tried to come back with the green mist, but Banks dodged out of the way just in time, making Asuka spritz the ref instead. Bayley took advantage, nailing Asuka with the tag title and stripping the referee’s shirt, putting it on herself and counting the 3 for Banks. She demanded the bell be rung and snatched the Raw title for her friend. Huge win for romance and friendship, but a bummer for Asuka.
This was a convoluted WWE ending, but I think it works for sniveling heels like Bayley and Sasha. It protects Asuka while giving us the tyrannical reign of both Bayley Dos Belts and Two Belt Banks. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Asuka regain the title the next time these two face off, or even have it returned to her on Raw if Bayley’s one night career as a ref doesn’t hold up. But for now, it’s the Golden Role Models world, and we’re just living in it.
WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre defeats Dolph Ziggler (Extreme Rules for Ziggler)
Before the match, Dolph announced that the stipulation he chose was Extreme Rules- for Dolph Ziggler only. How has no one else come up with this in the history of WWE? Is Dolph just that smart and unique? This went as expected once the stipulation was announced, with Ziggler pulling out a variety of weapons and McIntyre unable to inflict the same pain. Dolph set up tables and used chairs, while Drew relied on the tried and true power of being 6 and a half feet tall. Dolph landed an elbow drop onto McIntyre through the table, and still Drew beat the count to get in the ring. Dolph hit all his finishers, but the Scot wouldn’t go down. Ziggler started screaming at McIntyre to just die; somebody watched Braveheart last night. Ziggler was setting up for a super kick, but McIntyre hit the Claymore sans countdown to win. Even when literally everything is tipped in his favor, Dolph just can’t get the job done. I guess that’s what makes him a relatable character.
The Fiend defeats Braun Strowman and Bray Wyatt (Wyatt Swamp Match)
It’s kind of hard to cover the “cinematic” matches, because if I don’t recap every single moment it somehow feels like I’m not doing the whole piece justice. But just know this one included a snake, some Tatiana Maslany style doppelganger acting by Braun, an Alexa Bliss fantasy, and multiple attempted drownings. It ended with the Fiend emerging from the red water to cackle, with Braun vanished into the deep and Bray repressed into the Funhouse. Lots of possibilities for whatever that could mean, but I guess the real winner is anyone who splashed about in a Florida lake at night and didn’t get eaten by alligators. As far as WWE’s glossy, over-produced location matches go, I’d rank this just below the Boneyard match and way above whatever they had the Viking Raiders and Street Profits do last month. It was good fun, even more so if you were a big Wyatt family fan. My only request is please slow down the cuts, this isn’t Bohemian Rhapsody. I want to get a headache from the swamp gas, not the editing.