Coming off of a great Survivor Series, Raw and SmackDown had a lot to live up to, and this time they had to do it without the inclusion of NXT. There were some hits and some definitely misses, and I’ve got it all covered for you.
Opening Monday night, Seth Rollins gave an impassioned speech to the Raw locker room, telling them that they sucked ass at Survivor Series and needed to get their act together, goddamnit. He singled out Randy Orton and Charlotte for losing their team elimination matches, but the buck stopped when he insulted Rey Mysterio for failing to beat Lesnar. The entire locker room left ringside, because they can excuse literally everything else about Seth, but they draw the line at hurting Rey’s feelings. Rollins embraced his inner boomer and yelled at them about being lazy and complacent, while he was out here loving Monday Night Raw over anything else in his life (I’m sure Becky was thrilled). Kevin Owens was the only one who remained in the ring, letting Rollins complain for another minute before hitting him with a stunner.
This was a much needed obnoxious return for heel Rollins. There are few things wrestling fans hate more than other wrestling fans, so making Seth an avid WWE defender really works here. It lets him play to his strengths, which are being a brat and that weird laugh he has. Can’t wait to hear that again.
More Pro Wrestling:
- What the Hell is Happening in Ring of Honor? (Part 2)
- 2019 In Wrestling: Orange Cassidy is Wrestler of the Year
- NXT WarGames 2019 Recap & Review
Local Dad has Nice Day
Handsome Man of the Year, Humberto Carrillo, was due to fight AJ Styles for the US title, but was attacked on the way to the ring by the OC. With Carrillo and his stylish white cape out of commission, Styles lamented there being no one willing to fight him, until 4 wrestlers all came out and said they wanted to kick his ass. It was admittedly pretty funny to hear Styles come up with increasingly dumb excuses for why he wouldn’t face them— Ricochet, Randy Orton, Drew McIntyre, and Rey Mysterio— and it led to an entertaining four-way. Mysterio won by pinning Ricochet after The OC beat down Orton, and continued into a match with Styles. This was pretty good because Rey Mysterio is somehow still always that good, and the ending was a nice surprise— Orton attacked The OC at ringside, RKOd Styles, and helped Mysterio win the US Championship. I never fully buy when Randy Orton does nice things for people, but I will definitely pop for Dominick putting his dad on his shoulders.
We were treated to multiple episodes of Firefly Funhouse this week, as Bray Wyatt tried to pursue Daniel Bryan to take another crack at The Fiend. Things got extra heated and pretty hip when Wyatt and Huskus the pig dropped a hot new track about getting fit, staying positive, and the Illuminati. It’s the kind of thing that I really wish I’d been just very high for, because I can’t imagine how funny those 90 seconds would have been while intoxicated. Somehow, it managed to take a turn for the even weirder at the end of the night, when Bryan came out to thank the audience for yelling at him so much he remembered how to believe in himself. He proclaimed the Yes Movement was back, and he was willing to face The Fiend again with the power of a new gimmick behind him. Wyatt interrupted with a Funhouse video, then flipped the lights and attacked from under the ring, as he loves to do. Bryan fought back but was unable to escape The Fiend’s iron grip, which pulled him into hell and a Hair Cuttery, as that crazy clown began tearing off chunks of Bryan’s hair and tossing them in the ring. This was awesome, hilarious, and gross, which feels like all the things The Fiend is supposed to be. I hope hair pulling is a big part of his character now, because it honestly makes perfect sense.
Fashion Kings Join Forces
The New Day issued an open challenge for the SD tag team titles, and the wild trio of Shinsuke Nakamura, Sami Zayn, and Cesaro came out to answer. I covered Cesaro’s incredible new gear several weeks back, and I’ve talked a lot about Nakamura’s trendsetting looks, so you can only imagine the impact of both men teaming. This was a good match, with Nakamura and Cesaro coming close to getting the titles several times. Sami Zayn attempted to interfere on their behalf, even grabbing the plate of pancakes to take a swing at Kofi before the ref caught him. Sami as Nakamura’s manager still works in the weirdest way, two very contrasting personalities that are somehow very fun to watch together. New Day ultimately won this when Kofi hit Trouble in Paradise to pin Cesaro.
I don’t know if we’ll see this team again, but if we do, I hope they’re in matching leather Capri jumpsuits, so we can truly get the best of both worlds.
A couple of notable returns on SmackDown, including scarf king Elias, who interrupted Drake Maverick’s very bad flirting with Dana Brooke. I guess Maverick hasn’t seen her twitter lately. Elias told Dana he’d been on a journey, discovering himself and music and probably sleeping in somebody else’s car. The second surprise was Sheamus, who cut a great promo about how SmackDown had become weak and spineless, filled with the likes of Corbin, Wyatt, and Shorty G. Sheamus has been out for nearly 10 months with an injury, and speculation was he may not return at all, but his spiky red hair was a very welcome sight. I long for the Bar the reunite, but the #1 fella seems to have some other business on his mind. And last but definitely not least, judging by the reaction she got, was Little Miss Alexa Bliss, who saved former tag partner Nikki Cross from a beat down by Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. Bliss cleaned house, showing off her impressive gymnastics and double teaming with Cross to plant Deville with a DDT. The two hugged, and I’m adult enough to admit that friends reuniting is one of the best things in wrestling. It’s cute, goddammit.
The Gentleman Snaps
205 Live celebrated its 3rd birthday last night, and I celebrated it not being unceremoniously cancelled yet again. Jack Gallagher honored the occasion by going off the rails following a loss to Angel Garza. A few weeks ago, Gallagher almost got into it with announcer Aiden English, but this week he abandoned all those fine British manners and truly lost his head. After being bested by the pants ripping legend, Gallagher began throwing chairs around the ring and tossing water on the ref, some classic angry hijinks. Security came out to restrain him, but the gentleman learned from fellow red headed European Becky Lynch and punched the guards. Drake Maverick, remembering he’s supposed to be running a show and not hitting on coworkers, ran down to threaten Jack with a suspension, and got a head butt for his troubles. This is awesome; an unhinged Gallagher, frustrated with his position on the show and the lack of opportunities, makes sense and makes some very entertaining television. Please throw water on Angel next, Jack.
WWE Banger of the Week: Asuka vs Charlotte
I’m loving Asuka and Kairi Sane right now, who are more entertaining with every exaggerated eyeroll and Japanese insult they spew. This week, Asuka faced Charlotte as a result of their argument that cost Team Raw two members at Survivor Series. We’ve seen this match several times before, and Charlotte’s always gone over, but as commentary keeps reminding us, this is a Different Asuka. The match itself was great— these two have good chemistry and continue to build on a long feud. Asuka had a great counter to Natural Selection, turning it into a submission, but things looked to go the same way as always as Charlotte took control with a spear. But a brief referee distraction by my new favorite goth, Kairi Sane, and Asuka used the mist to blind Charlotte and roll her up. The story here worked really well, cementing that Asuka remains unable to cleanly beat Charlotte, and has to resort to the mist. She and Kairi get to saunter off into the sunset, and we get to see Charlotte covered in slime again. It’s a win-win.