Backlash was awful, wasn’t it? Let’s not dwell on that PPV for one second longer! Money in the Bank is on the horizon, so let’s shift our focus that way instead.
WWE RAW Champions
The Universal Title
This ain’t a good start; I’ve got pretty much nothing for this. Brock Lesnar wasn’t at Backlash so there was no fallout from that, and it looks like WWE are making the Money in the Bank match the new priority on Raw.
Finn Bálor and Braun Strowman won their qualifying matches this week so they’ll be heading to the Bank in about a month’s time, with the other competitors to be decided on Raw and SmackDown over the next couple of weeks.
And that’s it. It’s a shame there’s nothing more to say on the subject of the Universal Title, but I’m used to not having much to go off when it comes to this Championship.
The Intercontinental Title
The saving grace of Backlash: Seth Rollins Vs The Miz. Seth retained his title on Sunday, and after a beautiful promo this week, he announced the start of a new open challenge for the IC strap. Aiming to get into the spotlight, Mojo Rawley answered the call.
The match itself was nothing special, but after his bout at Backlash, I think Rollins deserved an easy win that wasn’t going to push him to the limit. It was pretty interesting to see a new match-up as well as the two have never gone one-on-one before. The end was never in doubt, and “The Architect” picked up the win to keep hold of the IC Championship.
Seth has just been an absolute beast since winning the title. His promos have been on point, and his matches have been phenomenal. Sure, this wasn’t a “Match of the Year” candidate, but it was another example of solid ring work, and it’s great to see a championship defended on a regular basis *cough cough* take the hint, Brock *cough*
The Raw Women’s Title
Nia Jax conquered the challenge of Alexa Bliss again this past Sunday to retain her Raw Women’s Championship, but she wasn’t around to gloat. Instead, the focus was all on the MitB PPV, and Ember Moon, Sasha Banks, and Ruby Riott squared off to qualify for the women’s ladder match.
This was a really good scrap with the frantic pace and legal bouts of interference from The Riott Squad keeping things interesting. Ember Moon went on to pick up the 1, 2, 3 after hitting the Eclipse on Riott who had Sasha draped across her back. “The Shenom” has been on a roll since coming up to the main roster, and this win cements her as a huge threat to the women’s division going forward.
It’s disappointing that Nia slipped into the background. She sent out a Tweet telling the women to remember who the champ is, but I don’t think most people cared. I know I didn’t. We don’t know who else from Raw is in the MitB ladder match yet, but there’s no doubt Moon is an instant favourite to win it, no matter who else joins.
The Raw Tag Team Titles
Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt were back in action this week, facing off against Bo Dallas & Curtis Axel in a non-title match.
This was a quick little squash match just to keep the champs looking good, but what it lacked in time, it made up for in decent action. Dallas & Axel, for all their comedy jobbing, are great workers. I’d like to see them get a win soon, but losing to the champions doesn’t hurt anyone, and the double Sister Abigail definitely looks painful so it’s no surprise Hardy & Wyatt won.
Nothing of note here, I’m afraid. Obvious winners were obvious, but “The Deleters of Worlds” need some serious competition soon.
The Cruiserweight Title
Cedric Alexander took another week out on the sidelines, but Buddy Murphy sure as hell didn’t. The Aussie made it clear he’s gunning for the champion, and set out to right the only wrong on his 205 Live record in a rematch against Mustafa Ali.
This was another incredible match full of big spots and great wrestling. Highlights for me this time around include a Tornado DDT from Ali to Murphy through the damn ropes, and the back flip by Ali from the turnbuckle to the outside that set up for a super kick. The former NXT Tag Champ wore his opponent down enough to hit Murphy’s Law to pick up the victory. The Aussie is ready for Cedric, no doubt about that.
Cedric is a fantastic wrestler and a worthy ambassador for 205 Live, but I realised this week that he hasn’t had a match on the Cruiserweight show since becoming champion. GM Drake Maverick told Alexander the stars of 205 Live will butt heads with the UK division next week, so hopefully our champ will finally have a bout.
WWE Smackdown Live Champions
The WWE Title
AJ Styles didn’t have a match this week, and neither did his rival, Shinsuke Nakamura. Both men cut interview segments saying that their feud isn’t over yet. Hopefully their next match will live up to the hype.
That’s all that can really be said this week. Like on Raw, most of the emphasis was on the MitB qualifying matches, and fair play because The Miz Vs Jeff Hardy and Rusev Vs Daniel Bryan were both brilliant. The Miz and Rusev won their respective matches and are going on to Money in the Bank.
It was a shock to see Rusev getting the win, but Daniel Bryan is the one guy that can take any loss in the world without it hurting him, and the Bulgarian really needed this win. Are we finally going to see Rusev as World Champion? It’s looking a little more likely.
The US Title
Jeff Hardy was back in action, but his focus wasn’t on the US Championship: he had a chance to qualify for the MitB ladder match against The Miz.
The Miz has been the true workhorse of WWE for years, and last night he proved why. Not long after his show-stopping performance at Backlash, “The A-Lister” put on another great match. He picked up the win over the US Champion by taking a Swanton Bomb and forcing himself to turn it into a Crucifix pin.
I’ve never been a big fan of having a midcard champion compete in MitB or Elimination Chamber matches, so keeping Hardy out is a good decision in my eyes. Losing to The Miz gave the former IC Champ the huge boost he needs going into the ladder match, and Jeff is free to defend his belt on the same PPV. It’s a win-win situation.
The SmackDown Women’s Title
Carmella, you beautifully annoying human being. Her match against Charlotte Flair at Backlash wasn’t very good, but anyone expecting a great bout was kidding themselves. Carmella shines in promos, and that’s just what she did again this week in a short backstage segment.
“The Princess of Staten Island” is planning a Royal MellaBration for next week’s broadcast from the UK, and she’s banned the Royal family and the Flairs from attending. I’m fairly certain Kate Middleton won’t be crashing the event, but I’ll keep an eye out for Charlotte Flair just in case she decides to be a party pooper.
Having low expectations for Mella’s matches makes them easier to get through, but after her performance at Backlash, she definitely needs to up her game. For now, her mic work is enough to keep me interested in her title reign, but it won’t be long before fans get sick of the naff matches.
The SmackDown Tag Team Titles
Are The Bludgeon Brothers even relevant anymore? Another week has passed by, and yet again, I find myself wondering what on earth is going on.
In a very short — and confusing — pre-taped segment, Harper & Rowan said they have toys and they want someone to play with. And that was it.
It’s been too long since The Bludgeon Brothers and The Usos have done anything to keep their feud alive, and I think most people have stopped caring. It’s clear that WWE need to give their champs a challenge. Could the soon-to-debut team of Sanity be the ones to answer the call?
It’s been a tough few months to be a wrestling fan. Not much exciting has happened outside of the MitB matches this week, and unfortunately, I think this trend will carry on until the event is over.