After weeks of attacking each other from behind and invading different shows, how did Raw and SmackDown stand strong just nights before they battle for brand supremacy? With even more sneak attacks and invasions. When something works, you gotta do it at least six more times. Here’s the latest in color wars:
The Game Knows Best
Kevin Owens and Drew McIntyre put on a fantastic match on this week’s Raw, although nobody’s really sure why it happened. Samoa Joe, who was a gift on commentary all night, pointed out that it was pretty weird to have two members of Team Raw fighting each other less than a week before Survivor Series. Triple H interrupted after Owens hit a second stunner on McIntyre, I guess effectively ending the match, but no verdict was announced. That part doesn’t really matter, because the actual story here is Trips trying to lure Kevin to the dark and gold side. Just like he did to Seth a few weeks ago, he tried to remind Kevin of all that he accomplished as NXT champion; betraying Sami, showing up John Cena, having a finisher people actually liked. The Raw roster came out to attack the NXT guys at ringside, but Undisputed Era jumped Owens in ring to Triple H’s surprise. The segment ended when The OC chased UE out the ring, but seems like there might be some rebellion in NXT. Who’s gonna side with responsible father figure Triple H when cool uncle Adam Cole is also out here attacking people on his own time?
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Screw the Law
Becky Lynch, woke queen, got in trouble with the powers that be yet again this week. After cutting a promo about fighting, being Irish, and a city that encompasses both (Boston), Becky and Charlotte teamed to take on the IIconics. This match was criminally short, especially considering how little we’ve seen of The IIconics recently, with Charlotte taking all of the offense before rallying back and locking in the Figure 8. After the match, The IIconics were attacked by Shayna Baszler and her fighting/playing pals Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir. Lynch and Flair attempted to make the save, but were beaten down by the NXT women, then held back from pursuing them by security. Aware of the position police play in modern society, The Man punched one of the guards square in the face, much to the delight of the audience. This is the role model our kids need.
Forgotten Sons (not those ones)
This segment included three vastly underused Raw talents and actually gave them something to do, so in my opinion it’s the best thing to come out of Monday night. The main roster has somehow let both Aleister Black and Buddy Murphy, massive stars on their respective brands before getting called up, flounder in a whole lot of nothing for way too long. This week, Murphy knocked on Aleister’s door, but Black was too busy vlogging and listening to sad music to respond in time, so he lost the opportunity to Tozawa, who was making his Raw debut. Tozawa had some great offense for a while, but Buddy ended things with Murphy’s Law. Black then came out on the ramp, and the two scene kids had a nice stare down. The promise of a feud between these two bangs like nobody’s business; Black’s kicks look like they’re going to take your head off, and Murphy sells like he’s being decapitated. A match made in heaven.
The Intercontinental Championship is Goth Now
You know when you look at a championship and you’re like “nice, but how do I make this sexier?” SmackDown achieved just that this week when Sami Zayn unveiled the new IC title belt. The sleek new design has swapped the white belt for a black strap and a big dark gold center plate. Unlike the mixed response the blueberry Universal Championship got, this design seems to be fairly well received. WWE has been really into color coding lately, but this is a big change from the IC belt we’ve known for years. Luckily, it’s the perfect adaption for leather fashion king Shinsuke Nakamura, who gets to ring in the new belt, which will surely pair fantastically with his red vampire cape ensemble. I can’t wait to see the fit he debuts on Sunday.
Black and Blue and Red All Over
This is it! The last big fight before the actual big fight on Sunday. Seth Rollins lead Raw to the ring at the end of the night, confronting Reigns while Team Raw wiped out poor Mustafa Ali and Shorty G. The SmackDown roster filed out to help them, while the crowd chanted for the only brand it’s actually cool to support, NXT. They appeared on the tron riding a tank, which I feel they maybe should have lead with in terms of brand invading, if this is something Hunter has always had access to. It was chaos all over the ring; Rollins hit somebody with a phone, Drake Maverick took his shirt off, Keith Lee and Braun Strowman had some very intense eye contact before going after it. Fade to black on dozens of grown men beating the crap out of each other, and that’s our show!
Please Give Good Wrestling a Chance
205 Live was cancelled late Friday afternoon, and if you heard a loud shrieking noise around that time, it was just me yelling at the heavens about how bad things happen to good people. The shows not cancelled cancelled, just preempted so the audience in Boston could see middle aged dudes who aren’t wrestling this weekend point at their junk. It’s a shame to see 205 continually be such an afterthought. Lio Rush’s return and rise as champion has been fantastic to watch, and he’s had a stellar run of matches on 205 since. Incorporating the cruiserweights on NXT was a good step for the division, but stuff like this just shows how little weight the show itself actually holds.
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WWE Banger of the Week: Sasha Banks vs Charlotte Flair vs Rhea Ripley
After 3 whole weeks of being ambushed, SmackDown finally caught on to the game. The show opened with Corbin and Reigns arguing over how best to deal with the impending invasion, but Sasha Banks told them both to shut up and let her handle it, which is great advice for most moments in life. She called out Charlotte and the Raw women’s team, who called out NXT, which led to this triple threat. The different styles here were great; Ripley and Flair traded kicks and strikes, while Banks used her quickness to attack from behind. Charlotte ended up bleeding from the mouth about halfway through, which we all know makes every match better. The finish was smart, with Ripley sneaking in under the Figure 8 and quickly pinning Flair, foreshadowing what might go down on Sunday. My only complaint about this match is it definitely could have gone longer, but that’s also my sentiment about every WWE women’s match ever.