WWE Recap: The Messiah Returns (Also, Seth Rollins is Back)

Shane McMahon pays us his bi-annual visit

If you’ve seen anything from WWE this week, it’s probably Nia Jax yelling about her hole. Given the rest of the week’s lineup, I’m not sure you really need to look into anything else, since you’ve already covered the best of the best. Sure, the Dusty Classic is fun, and Cesaro and Bryan teaming is beautiful wrestling being born, but it’s honestly no hole. I guess we can’t all be born comedians like Nia Jax.

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Shane O’Mac Dips Into Idea Factory For Match We’ve Seen 6 Times Now

Monday night started off with the return of Shane McMahon, who now comes out every once in a while to announce things they think are too official to come from Adam Pearce. Unfortunately, this idea was no Raw Underground and it was certainly no Raw Underground background dancers; the Elimination Chamber match is now going to be for the WWE Championship. Meaning, Sheamus doesn’t get a singles match against McIntyre, and now Styles, Hardy, Orton, and the Miz get a shot at the title too. Miz still has the Money in the Bank briefcase, so it feels more than a little redundant for him to be in a title match, but don’t worry about that. We then got McIntyre vs Orton yet again, maybe because, unlike the rest of us, Shane has missed their first 10 matches together. This was exactly what we’ve seen before until Sheamus came down to make fun of Drew for being lame and having no friends. Orton took advantage and sent the champ into the ring post then the commentary table, but McIntyre still kicked out. Drew was beginning to rally when Sheamus came in and delivered a Brogue Kick to Orton, giving him the DQ win. McIntyre finished things off with a Claymore to his former friend. This wasn’t anything at all and it didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but that was the theme of the night, it seems. McIntyre and Orton continue to work well together, but we’ve now seen it so much in the past year that it feels like old news. Not to mention the history between Sheamus and McIntyre should have been enough to sell the match on it’s own; turning Elimination Chamber into a 5-way shot at the title does’t seem to help anybody.


Two Bad Dudes and One Bunny

Bad Bunny showed up again on Monday night, giving him more Raw appearances than the entire 24/7 division so far this year. He supported new friend Damien Priest in a match against Angel Garza; Bunny is, admittedly, a much better choice for Priest’s BFF than the potential original plan of Kevin Owens. Miz and Morrison were in Garza’s corner, helping continue their beef with Bad Bunny. Garza was keeping control until the ref threw Miz and Morrison out off a tip from Bad Bunny, which let Priest land the Reckoning and win. Priest and Bunny are a weirdly good team, and the match between Priest and Garza was as fine as it needed to be. No doubt the singer’s in ring debut will involve beating up Miz and Morrison next to his tall, leather wearing friend. The part of this segment that really didn’t work was Edge, who cut a promo before the match once again questioning who he should challenge at mania. While it’s always fun to see Miz get yelled at, and Edge was the only person to employ any kind of logic in asking why Miz announces his intention to cash in, Edge appearing on shows just to philosophize about who he should pick has already gotten old. He claimed to be the master manipulator, but maybe he should take some of his own advice and move in silence. Or he should start hanging out with Bad Bunny and Priest full time and write a song about it. Either one.

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Lana Finally Gets Justice (Again)

It’s the one thing that brings all wrestling fans together: wrestlers yelling about their privates during a match. Nia Jax faced longtime victim Lana in a tables match on Monday night, stemming, of course, from last fall’s hot trend of Jax putting Lana through a table every week for a few months. Jax had control early on here, going after Lana’s previously injured leg with a submission. She ran the pseudo Russian into the ring post, but missed a leg drop on the apron. The sensation of landing ass first on the hardest part of the ring was too much for Jax to bear, and she screamed in agony. Specifically, she screamed “my hole.” Lana took advantage and sent Jax through a table, the butt pain too great for the Irresistible Force to overcome. We got a brief teaser of Baszler vs Naomi following this, but the real focus was on memeing Jax’s cries. I gotta say, Jax doesn’t always land as a super serious heel, but she plays a goofy brute very well. Let’s see how well her butt problems have healed when she and Baszler face Naomi and Lana for the tag titles. Lana has definitely improved in-ring, and she makes a significantly better face when she’s not going through poorly constructed plywood every seven days.

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Faking It

Much of this week’s NXT was devoted to finishing up the Dusty Cup semifinals, but they still found time to give Cameron Grimes a topical new update. Grimes arrived to the arena in a fancy new car and cut a promo about he was super rich because he’d invested in GameStop. While “Reddit heel” certainly could play in wrestling, this promo would have benefitted hugely from a real audience. A handful of boos didn’t give Grimes much to play off of, and it came away as an attempt at a quick cash in on a fading news story. I find Grimes wildly entertaining, even though I still don’t understand literally anything about his character. I guess we’ll have to just wait and see what he invests in next. Maybe the booming hotel business.

On the other end of the comedy heel spectrum is Johnny Gargano, who had to be wheeled to the ring as he told a very forlorn crowd that he wasn’t well enough to face Kushida this weekend. Gargano has really settled into his role as a snotty little gremlin man, and his excellent delivery in promos almost makes up for the fact that he named his little group The Way. Here, Johnny claimed that he broke his arm tussling with Kushida last week, and without an arm, he couldn’t walk, since he was a champion power walker and needed to pump those arms. He even showed an x-ray of somebody else’s right arm while claiming to have injured his left. Regal wasn’t having it, and told Johnny that his options were to let Theory wrestle as his stand in for the NA title, or forfeit his belt. Kushida joined the gang as they conferred, then fired off on both Theory and Gargano. Johnny falling back right into the wheelchair was a particularly nice touch. This has been a great feud for Kushida, who’s finally getting some much needed time to shine, and Gargano is as hateable as ever.

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Role Model Steamrolls Local Punk

After visiting Raw to hang with Asuka Monday night, Bianca Belair was back on SmackDown alongside buddy Sasha Banks. The duo re-aired the “my hole” segment to get a rise out of Jax and Baszler, then helped the injury by once again dropping Nia on her backside. In other women’s division news outside of the hole-saga, Bayley went one-on-one with Liv Morgan. Liv was ready to go, nailing Bayley with a dropkick. She attempted a dive to the outside, but Bayley got out of the way and knocked her into the barricade. Morgan got a near fall with a face buster, but Bayley came back by dropping her on the ropes. Billie Kay made her way out to once again pitch her resume to Ruby Riott at ringside, causing a distraction that let Bayley rake Morgan’s eyes before landing the Rose Plant to win. Kay has run her course with the Riott Squad; as funny as she is, it’s time to put this one to bed.

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Messiah’s Message Somehow Not Received

Seth Rollins made a marquee return to SmackDown as a new dad, but still the same terrible preacher we know and hate. Clad in an all leather suit, he addressed the rest of the SmackDown roster as he talked about his new baby and how she changed his whole outlook on life. He claimed he was the man to lead the roster into a new era, due to his cutting edge fashion sense in wearing a suit from at least 40 years ago. Most people dipped out right when he started talking about his baby (understandable), until the only one left listening was Cesaro. Like most salesmen, Seth mistook the Swiss Superman’s presence for interest in his program, until Cesaro left shaking his head. Seth chased him down on the entrance to lay him out, until Daniel Bryan came out and ran him off. Seems like Cesaro has officially turned face again- I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing him and Rollins go head to head.

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Uppercut Boys and Chair Toting Cousins

Early in the night, Sonya Deville announced the brilliant idea to have tag teams compete for spots in Elimination Chamber. Both members of the two winning teams would qualify for the chamber match, because this company loves nothing more than ruining friendship. King Corbin and Sami Zayn qualified first, beating Rey and Dominik Mysterio in another feud that will never end. We then saw Cesaro and Daniel Bryan, hot off the heels of making fun of Seth Rollins, take on the Dirty Dawgs. Bryan went for the Yes Lock on Roode early on, but he just got to the ropes to break it. Corbin and Zayn came out to scope the competition, distracting Bryan and Cesaro and letting the heels take over. A could pin attempts on Bryan go nowhere; he even kicked out of a spine buster from Roode. Absolutely unheard of stuff. Daniel finally broke free to tag Cesaro, who went wild with some uppercuts. Everybody ran in to hit some big moves until Cesaro got Ziggler in the swing, then the Sharpshooter to force a two. Right away Jey Uso ran out to spoil the fun, going after Cesaro with a chair. Zayn and Corbin took care of Bryan on the outside until KO joined the party and stunned everyone. Owens promised he was coming for Roman just before the show faded out. As good as these two are together, I’m starting to understand Roman’s frustration in Owens refusing to let this feud die. At least Cesaro was happy for about thirty seconds; that’s gotta count for something.

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No OG Gold

After getting jumped by Tony Nese and Ariya Daivari last week following his match with August Grey, Jake Atlas was out to get revenge, but in a nice, babyface way. He and Nese mainevented 205 Friday night, with Daivari sitting on commentary in his gold change. Nese took control early on, but Atlas used his agility to comeback from a hard back elbow to land a neckbreaker. Nese went for the body scissors, but even his powerful thighs couldn’t keep Atlas contained. A lariat almost got the win for Atlas, but Nese kicked out at the last second. Daivari, great friend that he is, attempted to pass his gold chain to Nese, but August Grey came out to take it back. A quick roll-up from Atlas scored the win over Nese, sending the 205 OGs packing. Atlas has looked very good these past few weeks; I wouldn’t be surprised to see him challenge Escobar again soon.