WWE Champions Corner (9-10 July): UFC Crossover On the Cards?
Are WWE and UFC about to team up in regards to Brock Lesnar?
Many thanks to the department editor Mr. Thomas Broome-Jones for covering last week’s article, but it’s time to rejoice for my return as I pass judgement on the champions in WWE.
WWE Raw Champions
The Universal Title
Surprisingly, there’s news on Brocky boy but it’s all on his appearance in the UFC. After Daniel Cormier won the Heavyweight Title at UFC 226, he called out Lesnar and it appears an MMA fight is on the horizon between the two behemoths.
Naturally, this is fuelling the rumour that the Universal Champion will drop the strap in his next WWE match, but just imagine if Vince keeps the belt on Brock and he becomes a champion simultaneously in the ‘E & UFC. What would that even mean for both sports? It’s an interesting scenario, that’s for sure.
The Intercontinental Title
After implying Drew McIntyre shags sheep, Seth Rollins and the big Scot went one-on-one in the main event of Raw. If McIntyre won, he would get to be at ringside for the IC Title clash this Sunday between Rollins and Dolph Ziggler.
You’ve heard me go on and on about why Rollins is the best man to main event Raw every week so let’s just appreciate McIntyre for a moment instead. He’s a big man who hits big moves and has a big future; why Vince McMahon ever thought the Scot’s place was as a comedy wrestler in 3MB is beyond my comprehension.
Thanks to interference from Ziggler, McIntyre won the match with a massive Claymore kick. Something tells me he won’t just be an innocent bystander at Extreme Rules this Sunday.
The Raw Women’s Title
Alexa Bliss & Mickie James took on Nia Jax & Natalya in the opening match on Raw this week. It was a solid match with a great hot tag from Nattie to Jax that resulted in the former Women’s Champ getting the win over Mickie.
Almost immediately after, Bliss whacked Jax with a kendo stick a few times before The Irresistible Force fought back to send Bliss & James back up the ramp.
All in all, this was great work. I’m actually looking forward to their match at Extreme Rules. Well, it can’t be any worse that last year’s kendo stick on a pole match between Bliss and Bayley, can it?
The Raw Tag Team Titles
Okay, as much as I love The B-Team, we didn’t really need another super-fast singles match between Matt Hardy and either Curtis Axel or Bo Dallas. Dallas got the win this week, but I don’t think it can even be considered a shock victory at this point.
I understand WWE wanting to keep Bray out of the ring until absolutely necessary due to his car crash incident last week, but I think it would’ve made one hell of a statement if Bray had squashed Bo as easily as Curtis has been squashing Matt.
I’m still excited for the tag match at ER, but I’m a little less so this week. Somewhere along the lines of Bray’s injury, the build-up became very copy and paste.
The Cruiserweight Title
Since the renaissance of 205 Live, the cruiserweight division has quickly become my favourite thing about WWE. This week, Cedric Alexander fought bravely against Hideo Itami to successfully defend the Cruiserweight Championship.
If you like stiff strikes, daredevil antics, and trash-talking, this match was tailor-made for you. If I was being critical, I’d say it wasn’t as good as Alexander’s match against Buddy Murphy, but not every match is going to be perfect, and this was still the best bout in WWE this week (assuming Extreme Rules is going to be a bit naff).
I’m really excited to see who the next contender to the title will be. As much as I love Mustafa Ali, Buddy Murphy, and Hideo Itami, I hope it’s a completely new challenger like Drew Gulak or Jack Gallagher so everyone on the roster gets some great exposure.
WWE Smackdown Live Champions
The WWE & US Titles
Infuriating seems like an appropriate word. WWE Champion AJ Styles was having a great match against Shinsuke Nakamura until Rusev interfered for a DQ ending. Unable to stand idly by while Styles received a multi-national beatdown, the US Champ Jeff Hardy came out to make the save. SmackDown General Manager Paige then announced Styles & Hardy would take on Rusev & Nakamura. Holla, holla, we gonna have ourselves a tag team match, playa.
I hate it when WWE pull this sort of crap; it’s just a lazy way of meshing two feuds together to save time somewhere else in the show. I understand them doing it with wrestlers that aren’t in the title picture, but Styles & Hardy are the most important superstars on SmackDown, for Christ’s sake! They should have all the time they need. Admittedly, the tag bout was good, and I agree with the decision to have Rusev get the pin on Hardy.
In the case of the WWE Title, I think it’s fairly obvious AJ is retaining at Extreme Rules. Rusev looks suitably strong going into the match, but there’s no way Styles is dropping the belt right before SummerSlam.
As for the United States Championship, the water is a little murkier. The laws of sports entertainment dictate that whoever loses on a go-home show will win at the PPV, but Vince McMahon must have more sense than to let Nakamura lose another feud for a title. For the King of Strong Style’s sake, I really hope Naka gets the win.
The SmackDown Women’s Title
I’m laughing just thinking about how far downhill the SmackDown Women’s Champion scene has gone, but I’m only laughing because otherwise I’d cry. To his credit, James Ellsworth is doing a great job of getting his arse kicked by women on a weekly basis, but why on earth is a man the focal point of the Women’s title? He lost to Asuka in a Lumberjack/jill match this week, but then he and Carmella pulled some shady business with pepper spray to leave The Empress of Tomorrow down in the ring.
Backstage, Paige told Ellsworth he will be suspended from a shark cage above the ring during Carmella’s title defence at Extreme Rules to stop him from interfering. We’re not dumb, Vince. Ellsworth is clearly going to drop some pepper spray from the cage into the ring so Carmella can retain.
Please stop the nonsense. Swerve us and let Asuka pick up the win. Then give her a decent in-ring performer for SummerSlam. Please, Vince, please.
The SmackDown Tag Team Titles
So many people involved in one match — was it necessary? Again, WWE just threw two feuds together and packaged it as a massive main event. You know what, I didn’t care for it. The Tag Champions Harper and Rowan teamed up with Sanity (who they should be fighting against in an ideal world) to battle Team Hell No & The New Day.
I enjoyed the skits between Kane & Daniel Bryan, technically speaking the match wasn’t bad, and Sanity were in the main event, but there was just so much going on. And having Sanity lose again!?! Are you kidding me? Who thought that one up?
WWE gave us a good thing with the reunion of Team Hell No, but they’ve tried to push this as far as it can possibly go in such a short space of time. I hope Harper & Rowan retain, but don’t be surprised if Kane & Bryan become your new champions.
It’s weird. Even though SmackDown is the better show, I’ve somehow found myself caring more about the Raw champions this week. I think I need a lie-down. Wake me up when Extreme Rules starts.