WWE continues to move towards Survivor Series, with NXT once again challenging on this week’s Raw and SmackDown. Is someone going to double cross their brand? Will titles change hands before the PPV? Can anyone be trusted? This is the wrestling business, so we can already answer that last one.
RIP Long Island
Is it weird I’m kind of interested in Brock Lesnar now? I think there’s something innate in every wrestling fan where you’re just down to see people get thrown into walls and watch car doors get destroyed. This weeks Raw started with Heyman threatening to let Lesnar turn the Nassau Coliseum upside down until someone told him where Mysterio was. This mostly included choking a lot of men working behind the scenes, doing already thankless jobs. And if these crew jobs are anything like the ones I’ve worked, these people aren’t allowed to look Rey Mysterio in the eye, much less talk to him and find out his evening plans. Realizing this, Lesnar escalated to threatening commentary. Dio Maddin truly took one for the team and defended Lawler’s honor, which I have to imagine is only because he doesn’t want to lose his job. Mysterio finally emerged and beat Lesnar down with a pipe, then challenged him for the WWE championship at Survivor Series.
Redesign, Rebuild, Regress
After winning a Twitter feud with Dave Meltzer, the question on no one’s mind was “What is Seth Rollins going to do next?” Seth came out Monday night to give a ‘taking a break from social media, please text’ speech, but the crowd cared about as much as your high school classmates. He took credit for creating an environment on Raw where underdogs like AJ Styles and Braun Strowman were finally given opportunities, failing to help his case for why people should like him. Triple H then interrupted to offer Seth a chance to return to his snotty boy ways and ally with NXT over Raw, which seems to be fairly anti-Rollins at the moment. He brought out Undisputed Era to exemplify the level of brattiness Seth could achieve if he followed Papa H’s suggestion, but we never got an answer, as the Raw roster ran down to chase the NXT guys out. Seth then found Trips backstage and asked for a title match with Adam Cole that night, putting our favorite baby to work for like the third time this week. Rollins ultimately lost in a fine match to the world’s cutest possum, which is presumably going to lead to some more angry tweeting, and just might make him reconsider Mr. H’s offer.
Tough Guy Wars
This was the hottest thing on TV all week, bar absolutely none. Baszler interrupted an interview between Charly Caruso and Lynch to tell The Man there was a new leather jacket sheriff in town. Shayna made it clear she was no Ronda Rousey, and with a polite shout-out to Bayley, told Lynch she was the target at Survivor Series. Becky fired back with the classic barb ‘I don’t even know you,’ reminded us to thank her for getting rid of Rousey, then ended the interview by saying she was the real baddest woman on the planet. Both these women looked tough as hell and ready to beat the shit out of each other, which I for one am greatly looking forward to. I guess Bayley’s kind of the third wheel here, but if I lived it in high school she can handle it for one PPV.
It’s the brand that saved British wrestling, everybody! This weeks SmackDown came from Manchester, which, to my understanding, is kind of like the Long Island of England. In an attempt to capitalize on last week’s NXT invasion of SmackDown, but make it relevant to this cultural audience, NXT UK’s Imperium attacked Heavy Machinery, the best tag team representation of middle America. This lead to the rest of the blue brand chasing down four extremely pale European guys. I’m not sure if this means NXT UK is going to be part of the NXT team at Survivor Series, or if this is going to connect to the previous NXT/SmackDown feuds already set up, but it’s always fun to see 6’4” Walter in a tracksuit.
Pancake Hours Return
Xavier Woods is injured, making The New Day exclusively a duo for the time, but they seem to be doing alright. On Friday, Kingston and Big E defeated The Revival to once again become SmackDown Tag Team Champions. Commentary called this Kingston’s retribution for losing the WWE Championship. Now I would never demean the good name of tag team wrestling, but Kingston’s first WWE championship reign after 11 years in the company coming to an end in a five second match against a man who now works for the other show isn’t quite the same.
Regardless of all Kingston deserves (everything) this was a good match. The two teams know each other very well and it shows with their chemistry. The Revival are continually stuck in a loop of winning titles, doing very little as champions, and then losing said titles after a few weeks. But maybe that’s just Southern Pride after all. The New Day/Undisputed Era/Viking Raiders promises to be a lot of fun at Survivor Series.
Being Bad is Cool Now
Sasha Banks has a Snoop Dogg remix banger of a new theme, which sounds like someone took the tuba bit from Samoa Joe’s and mashed it with the beat drop in Jack Gallagher’s. Nikki Cross is mad Sasha helped Bayley retain last week, because I guess she doesn’t know what true love looks like. This match was a lot of fun; the crowd loved Nikki and popped big when she attacked Bayley at commentary, then put on the headset to yell something I imagine you have to be British to decipher. Cross’ manic gremlin energy unfortunately only got her so far, as she ultimately tapped to the Bank Statement. Bayley then started to beat her up some more, but was once again taken out by Shayna Baszler. Between Raw and SmackDown, Baszler is absolutely looking and sounding like a badass, and a real threat to both Bayley and Becky. I think this is the match I’m most excited for at Survivor Series.
WWE Banger of the Week: Lio Rush vs Raul Mendoza
A repeat of last week’s match that somehow managed to not be repetitive at all. Rush continues to turn out fantastic matches as champion, and it’s great to see him wrestle so often. 205 had a bad habit of restricting their champion to PPV shows for a long time, but now that the brand is under NXT, Rush has been competing on both brands regularly. This match catered to me personally; fast paced, constant movement, both guys flipping around like they’re in a washing machine. Mendoza came out with a lot of offense, throwing Rush around and even putting him in a surfboard before the champ was able to start hitting back. My biggest complaint is this match was so short. 205 is finally happening in front of a crowd that gives half a damn, and you only give them 5 minutes? Come on, guys. I’m dying here.