If you haven’t watched Raw this week, allow me to summarise it for you. Dean Ambrose got mad at his Shield brothers for cocking things up, Braun Strowman indirectly called Dolph Ziggler a weak link, and Shawn Michaels is as bald as Baron Corbin. After The Shield and Dogs of War looked so strong last week, everything just went terribly wrong for them on this week’s show.
But of course, there were good things and bad things on every WWE programme this week, so let’s get into the nitty-gritty and see who clawed their way onto WWE Wrestlers of the Week by just being slightly ahead of the competition.
10. The Brothers of Destruction (Undertaker & Kane)
WWE have plugged the upcoming ‘Taker/Triple H match to the absolute brink, but just in case you don’t think they’ve talked about it enough, Vince & co. decided to reunite The Undertaker with Kane to decimate the DX frontmen on the go-home edition of Raw.
Shawn Michaels kicked the segment off with a really strong promo about how he will always back his best friend in a fight only for Kane to come out and uppercut the Heartbreak Kid. The Undertaker soon followed his brother, and the two looked to team up on Shawn. Triple H’s music blasted out and he came to the ring to make the save. The Phenom & the Devil’s Favourite Demon soon took the upper hand and hit simultaneous chokeslams on Triple H & Michaels. To finish things off, ‘Taker spiked the Game with a Tombstone Piledriver and made his way back up the ramp with Kane.
The Brothers of Destruction did an excellent job of taking out DX, and the crowd pops were a treat to listen to. And yet, I feel like WWE have pushed the ‘Taker/Triple H match way too hard. Believe it or not, there are bigger bouts taking place at the Super Show-Down, with younger and more agile stars. It’s been a fun, nostalgic ride, but I think it’s time we all moved away from the superstars of a by-gone era.
9. Charlotte Flair
You’ve all seen the ‘Boo the Woo’ signs by now, and the crowd in Portland, Oregon did just that. Sick of Becky Lynch taking the micky, Charlotte aimed to shut her up, much to the fans’ disapproval.
The Irish Lass Kicker got this segment underway with a well executed promo about how she is still not getting the respect she deserves. Becky then unveiled a new poster for WWE Super Show-Down where she is standing tall over a defeated Charlotte, but the Queen’s music hits while Becky is still talking. Flair T-Bone suplexed Becky through the Super Show-Down poster and went on to lock in the Figure Four while hanging off the apron to inflict more damage. A final boot to the face of the SmackDown Women’s Champ, and Charlotte Flair closed the show as the victor.
Promo-wise, I feel like the match between Flair and Lynch has been given the best build-up. Their rivalry seems so real and intense that it’s probably on par with the AJ Styles and Samoa Joe feud. Even though she’s going to Australia with all the momentum, it’s hard to place Charlotte Flair any higher on this list because the contrasting opinions of the live crowd and commentator team are so jarring. Charlotte could be face or heel at this point for all we know.
8. Lars Sullivan
The Leviathan got off to a shaky start in his match against EC3, but Lars Sullivan bounced back in a big way.
The Top One Percent wasted no time taking the fight to Sullivan, charging him before the match and slamming him repeatedly into the steel steps. Lars actually took some serious punishment as his back was all cut up by the time EC3 was done. The bout slowed down a little after the initial onslaught, but Sullivan managed to take control, finishing the match with a Freak Accident to the ring apron and a diving headbutt from the top rope.
Thanks to the excellent start, this match wasn’t anywhere near as slow and plodding as I thought it would be. Both men showed a lot of power and walked away with the scars to prove it. Beating a star as big as EC3 could spell huge things for NXT’s powerhouse sooner rather than later.
7. Ronda Rousey w/ Nikki & Brie Bella
Just a few days before the six-woman tag match nobody asked for, Ronda Rousey squared off against the leader of the Riott Squad in winning fashion.
This match was pretty decent. Ruby Riott went after Rousey’s injured ribs a lot, and the Baddest Woman on the Planet did a great job of selling the attack. Ultimately, Rousey won with an armbar and celebrated her win with the Bella Twins because Nikki & Brie just have to be shoehorned into WWE programming at least once a week.
I liked the Raw Women’s Champion’s performance here a lot, but I don’t like how she sort of has no opponent gunning for her title. The Super Show-Down has actually hindered Raw significantly, so a contender needs to be found before Evolution. I just hope one of the Bellas doesn’t get that shot as rumoured.
6. Lacey Evans
Following their recent spats, the First Lady of NXT scored a huge pinfall victory over Candice LaRae this week.
Lacey made great use of her in-ring psychology skills throughout the match. She pulled on Candice’s hair without the ref seeing, locked Mrs Wrestling in head scissors and then started doing push-ups, and she mocked Johnny Gargano for being a failure. The last comment about her husband caused LaRae to get reckless and she ate a Woman’s Right for her troubles, spelling the end of the match.
When it comes to getting inside the head of her opponent, there are very few wrestlers that are as good as Lacey Evans. She knows her strengths and sticks to them, earning her a decent spot on the Wrestlers of the Week.
5. Carmella & R-Truth
I’ll admit it; I like the pairing of R-Truth & Carmella. The dance-loving duo partnered up this week to take on Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas and his business associate, Zelina Vega.
Both teams were able to look pretty strong in this match. Almas is continuing to impress week after week, and Carmella has come leaps and bounds in the ring. Following an altercation between Truth and El Idolo, Vega tried to get a sneaky roll-up on the Princess of Staten Island. ‘Mella managed to reverse the pin into a Code of Silence, and my God, it was one of the smoothest transitions I’ve seen in wrestling for quite some time. Seconds later, Vega tapped out, giving The Fabulous Truth the win.
R-Truth & Carmella have really worked at this odd couple relationship and the results speak for themselves. They have been incredibly entertaining both in and out of the ring, and it’s great to see how they’ve mostly avoided becoming a cringey comedy act. I think WWE made the right call letting Carmella get the win as it’s more believable than Truth pinning Almas, and I look forward to seeing what these guys bring to the table next week.
4. Randy Orton
Randy Orton is a sick man. That’s not my opinion, it’s an indisputable fact. The Viper looked to show how sick he is by dismantling Tye Dillenger for the second week in a row before the bell had even rung for their match.
The two traded shots back and forth and Dillenger even managed to back body drop the Apex Predator onto the announcers’ desk. Randy fought back though and soon nailed Tye with a draping DDT onto the outside. The Viper then dragged the Perfect 10 to the ring post and stuck Tye’s finger into a turnbuckle hole, wrenching away at it. Orton eventually let go with a sick smile on his face and to a small chorus of ‘9’ chants.
Just when you think Randy can’t get any more vicious, he goes and pulls a stunt that even UK Champ Pete Dunne would be proud of. I honestly preferred this beatdown to the match they were meant to have as it felt no holds barred. I liked this segment a lot, but I really hope the new ‘9’ chant won’t catch on.
3. Shelton Benjamin
Well then, Shelton had a good week. He went from never appearing on SmackDown to getting the pin over one of the brand’s biggest superstars.
This bout was a solid little number indeed. You could feel the frustration emanating from Benjamin. At one point in the match, he repeatedly slammed Daniel Bryan from the barricade to the ring apron which just showed how much he wanted the win. The Miz eventually got involved in the match long enough to distract Bryan, and ran right into a Paydirt that got Shelton Benjamin a long-awaited victory.
Sure, the win wasn’t squeaky clean, but a great match and pinfall against WWE’s biggest yes man is huge for Benjamin. If WWE don’t let his momentum drop, they could build a seriously good feud for the guy.
2. Elias & Kevin Owens
I don’t recall the last time I saw a pair of heels get proper heel heat the way Elias & Kevin Owens did on Monday night Raw.
Honestly, I didn’t fully understand the basketball reference, but when I checked out what Elias was going on about and I watched back the clip of everyone booing him and Owens with all their might, I realised just how golden that moment was.
This eventually led to an average match between KO and Bobby Lashley in which Owens actually picked up the victory. I’d say the bout came off worse than it was because absolutely nothing could top the promo.
Getting real heel heat is so rare these days that I had no choice but to put Elias & Kevin Owens so high on Wrestlers of the Week. It’s a shame they peaked early because I would’ve loved to have seen those guys head to the back with smiles on their faces as the whole arena booed them.
1. Johnny Gargano
At least someone in the Gargano household was able to pick up a win this week. Johnny Gargano battled 205 Live’s Tony Nese in a great match that wasn’t even the main event.
These guys have incredible chemistry in the ring. A personal highlight for me was when Nese went for a moonsault but landed on his feet just in time to take a jumping DDT from Johnny Wrestling. The NXT favourite managed to put the Premier Athlete away with the Gargano Escape for the tap out victory.
This match didn’t receive the most advertising or fanfare, but it was definitely my favourite bout this week. Both guys did an excellent job, and now Johnny Wrestling has to focus his attention on his future in NXT.
And that’s that for another week. I feel as though WWE could’ve done more to get me excited for Super Show-Down, but some matches are bound to brilliant. Check back again next week to see all the fallout from WWE’s time down under.
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