WWE emanated from jolly ol’ England this week. How did our champions fare? Let’s find out.
WWE Raw Championships
The Universal Title
Don’t make my job too easy, Brock. Yet again, the Universal Champion was nowhere to be seen, and it looks like it’ll stay that way until Money in the Bank is over. Ah well, I guess we’re used to this shoddy treatment by now, aren’t we?
Elsewhere on Raw, Kevin Owens and Bobby Roode qualified for the men’s MitB ladder match. Maybe one of them will cash in on Lesnar, finally ending the brevity of this part of my column once and for all. It’s unlikely, but you never know.
The Intercontinental Title
Seth Rollins is the best. If you disagree, fight me. The IC Champ issued another open challenge, and the call was answered by Kevin Owens. That’s right, Owens did double-duty, and that’s just fine by me.
The two had a really good match, as you’d expect. For someone who had to fight again later in the night, it’s strange to think WWE let Seth hit Owens with a Falcon’s Arrow on the apron; that could’ve seriously messed “The Prize Fighter” up. Luckily, the match went entirely to plan, and the champ hit the Stomp on Kevin Owens later on in the match to retain the IC Title.
I like that “The Architect” is issuing open challenges as John Cena proved a weekly title defence can bring out the best in both competitors. I hope challenger No.3 delivers another good bout for Rollins.
The Raw Women’s Title
WWE has given us some proper bad shit to deal with, but this steaming pile of crap was too much even for the toilet to handle. At an awards ceremony, completely separate from WWE by the way, Nia Jax challenged Ronda Rousey to a match at MitB for the Raw Women’s Championship.
This was an example of absolutely terrible booking. For one, it came across as Nia stepping up to the challenge of facing Rousey when surely it should’ve been the other way round. Secondly, Rousey said, “I’ve only had one match, and I think there’s a lot of other women that deserve that title shot before me,” which is 100% true. And thirdly, why were they trying to make it funny by having Charlotte Flair and Rousey WOOO all over the damn show?
I’m not a fan of this upcoming match. It’s a disaster from a booking perspective, and it’ll probably be a massive botch-fest in the ring, too. I hope I’m proven wrong, but I highly doubt it.
The Raw Tag Team Titles
For me, the Raw Tag Title scene is getting very interesting, and not just because the champions are bat-shit crazy. There’s another team that’s building some pretty good momentum, and that team is…The B-Team! It’s better than it sounds, I promise.
Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel made a much bigger impact than expected after picking up a shock victory over Tyler Breeze & Fandango. The crowd popped loudly for their success, and they’ve sort of transitioned themselves into lovable underdog heels. It’s very strange, but it works. After winning, they announced they’d be coming for Bray Wyatt & Matt Hardy.
Speaking of which, the champions picked up a win themselves. In a very good, if not a glorified squash match, The Deleters of Worlds took out The Revival with The Kiss of Deletion.
It’s been a while since I was so heavily invested in Raw’s tag division, but there’s a lot going on to keep viewers interested. Dallas & Axel are gunning for the champs, and even though I’m sure they’ll never win the titles from Bray & Matt, I’ll be cheering The B-Team on all the same.
The Cruiserweight Title
The Cruiserweight Champion, Cedric Alexander, teamed up with Mustafa Ali and UK star, Flash Gordon, to take on the team of Drew Gulak and his UK partners, Joseph Conners and James Drake.
Like most matches on 205 Live, this bout was another continuous highlight reel, and it was great to see WWE share the spotlight with stars from the host country. Alexander himself put on a good show, even if he did get lost in the shuffle (as most people do in multi-man matches). In the end, Gulak had his number, and the champ was forced to tag in Ali. “The Heart of 205 Live” went on to pin Gulak with the 054 Splash, picking up the win for his team.
This was a very good exhibition-style match that gave each competitor a chance to do something. I’m surprised Cedric didn’t personally get the win, and that Gulak got the better of him, but he still had his hand raised at the end of the night. What the champ needs to remember is that he won’t have a partner to save him when Buddy Murphy challenges for the title.
WWE SmackDown Live Championships
The WWE Title
Thank the good Lord; we finally had a match between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura that didn’t disappoint. The WWE Champion squared off against his MitB opponent this week to see which superstar gets to pick the stipulation for their match at the PPV.
This match was definitely worthy of being the main event. It had a lot of action, the crowd was hyped, and Shinsuke’s mind games were on point (a beautiful fake low-blow, if you ask me). Following up from the confusion caused by the fake low-blow, the Japanese superstar hit an Exploder and a Kinshasa to get the 1, 2, 3.
If their Backlash match was booked like this, fans wouldn’t have complained anywhere near as much as they did. Nakamura has proven he can beat the champ, but what match type will he pick for their next bout for the title?
The US Title
Jeff Hardy didn’t have a match on SmackDown this week, but he did beat The Miz in a dark match (which I have no footage of — it was probably good, though).
And I’ve got nothing else to go off. There’s been no mention of a title defence for MitB yet, but surely WWE will want to include one of their most popular stars on the card. Keep your eyes and ears open for any sign of an upcoming feud.
The SmackDown Women’s Title
What on earth is going on with the women’s divisions in WWE? Raw cocked up their title match, and SmackDown is doing the absolute same.
Carmella came out to absolutely no reception in London for her Royal ‘MellaBration. She ran down all the women in WWE, she ran down Great Britain (or is it not-so-Great Britain?), but the crowd just didn’t give a damn. I’ve gone on record saying Carmella is a great heel and gold on the mic, but I think the ridiculousness of the town crier and the royal guards annoyed the UK fans. I, for one, don’t have a patriotic bone in my body, and I cringed all the way through this segment. I imagine a lot of my fellow countrymen did the same.
Then Paige came out to stop the monstrosity, and she announced the champion’s opponent for MitB: Asuka. The Japanese superstar got a huge pop, but does anyone really think Carmella Vs Asuka is a good idea? ‘Mella should get destroyed by “The Empress of Tomorrow,” but I have a horrible feeling “The Princess of Staten Island” will win. But even if Asuka wins, it destroys the credibility WWE are trying to build for Carmella. This is a lose-lose situation; a terrible decision by management.
The SmackDown Tag Team Titles
Really? Just another random pre-taped segment? The Bludgeon Brothers should be out wrecking the entire tag team division, not dicking about in a “spooky” room. Get your shit together, boys. Find some opponents already, and smash them!
And that’s the lot. Nothing spectacular to report, but the IC belt, Raw Tag Titles, and the WWE Championship felt pretty important this week. MitB is looking hit and miss so far, but as long as it’s better than Backlash, I’ll be happy (kind of).