What you need to know
The dude they Triple Powerbombed may still be missing in action, but Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose have big plans. The Big Dog opened the Thursday night delight by copping to his failure to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at the last few pay-per-view (PPV) events...but that doesn't mean he didn't have a great time punching Seth Rollins in the face, or even brawling with his old buddy Dean. Now he believes he'll have even more fun winning Money in the Bank next month.
Getting from catering to the ring might be a challenge, but The Lunatic Fringe is still an expert at playing The Authority. The Director of Operations may have been dashing Roman's dreams by giving him another night off and telling him his recent losses put him at the back of the line for even an entry in the MitB ladder match, but Ambrose managed to make fun of his eating habits and his kayfabe family tree to get a match against his old nemesis Bray Wyatt.
Who knows whether the Prime Time Players are heels or faces, or what they've done to earn a tag team title shot. Maybe it's because Titus O'Neil is a super dad. On Smackdown, they joined champs The New Days as Senior Black Correspondents on one of those four-way tag matches where anyone can tag anyone else regardless of affiliation. The White and Latino guys from the first-ever Elimination Chamber tag match got to wrestle, and with Tyson Kidd & Cesaro dropping The Ascension, Lucha Dragons picked up a win with a pin on Los Matadores.
Surprisingly, none of the guest commentators got involved. Must have been because Xavier Woods was too busy trying to show Michael Cole how to use clapping gloves... At least Natalya and El Torito rekindled hostilities from their famous inter-gender/species program.
Whether it's because he's had his heart-broken or not, Rusev plans to rip out Dolph Ziggler's. The Show-Off says he knows the game Lana's playing, and he's okay with it. In the Elimination Chamber match for the vacant Intercontinental championship, Ziggler will teach the Bulgarian how to treat women. On Thursday, he also took care of business with another man who'll be locked in that structure with him on Sunday in King Barrett. The Ravishing Russian approved, cheering her latest piece of arm candy on from the stage.
Sticking with the ladies, Paige took a microphone to explain her position now that she made returned on Raw. Doing her best John Cena impersonation, she said things that contradict WWE's philanthropic endeavors...and also stated her case for getting a title shot. Naomi, along with her all-woman cousin/bodyguard, told The Anti-Diva that he spot was taken while she was playing movie star, and went with Tamina to stomp that point into the Brit. Divas champ Nikki Bella is still technically a good guy and wasn't going to let Paige fall prey to the numbers game, but she was going to hit her with a Rack Attack to make up for Monday's RamPaige.
His latest win over Stardust was spider-free, but R-Truth did use a glove to get a win and build his case for being in the IC title match at Elimination Chamber. Ryback thinks he's a lion and the other guys in the match with him are deer. Guess who's hungry in this analogy?
NXT continues to get a lot of play on main roster shows, as not only was Kevin Owens showdown with United States champ John Cena recapped, but his successful title defense at TakeOver Unstoppable and subsequent staredown with Samoa Joe were as well. As a bonus treat to the Wednesday night faithful, it looks like we're also getting a do-over of the Bo Dallas vs.
Adrian Neville program. We can only hope they let the Bo-liever go quietly this time.
If you're hierarchy of jobbers needs updating, The Meta Powers duo of Macho Mandow & Curtis Axel is right above Adam Rose & Heath Slater. We're not clear on where Fandango fits, but probably right in between those two.
Bray Wyatt said some stuff about demons and controlling them and...I'll be honest with you, I wasn't paying attention. Probably because he couldn't beat Dean with an assist from Jaime Noble. At least by the time Joey Mercury and the champ arrived, Reigns had put down the cheesecake and arrived to help his brother. Roman had a blast punching Rollins & company, and Ambrose hit his finisher on The Eater of Worlds.
What to look out for
WWE heads to the Long Island area, so the main thing to look out for is probably Zack Ryder getting clowned. We'll have to update the enhancement talent rankings after they're done in Uniondale, New York tonight.
It's also Memorial Day here in the States, so there will be tribute to fallen troops. It will be the usual clasy presentation, and might not involve Cena, since he's got to make up for getting powerbombed and having his title disrespected last week by KO.
Multi-person matches seem to be the order of the day for Sunday's WWE Network exclusive show, and that makes for pretty easy booking. Look for Truth, Barrett, Ziggler, Rusev, Ryback & Sheamus to get mixed and matched to build heat for the Intercontinental championship match - with special emphasis on Dolph and the Russian monster. And the chase will be on for Kofi Kingston & Big E's tag belts, with BTE, PTP, The Ascension, Los Matadores & Luca Dragons all coming.
Despite his win over Wyatt on Thursday, Dean Ambrose is still heading into a one-on-one match for the WWE title having lost the Payback 4Way and eaten a Pedigree from Rollins last week. He's got to be looking to make moves tonight.
And are Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Big Show, The Miz and others getting a weekend off? We'll know more after Raw!
What they should do
I've been lucky enough to have a few days off from the (not that) strenuous world of blogging about pro wrestling. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but it is work, and it's nice to have a little time to step away, come back and watch Smackdown on Hulu and not feel the need to roll my eyes at every tired trope, lazy booking decision or casually offensive promo the Sports Entertainment leader floats out there.
So, I'd encourage any fan who's feeling a little burned out to do the same. And I'll reiterate the frequent call to let the men and women who put these shows together a chance to recharge the mental, physical and spiritual batteries as well.
Darren Young may like to call himself "No Days Off", but he's probably benefited from a few on the tail-end of his injury recovery. And maybe the fact that we haven't seen stories rushed for Orton, Reigns and others for this Sunday is a sign that - even if they're pushing forward with this crazy schedule of three PPVs in five weeks, maybe they're figuring out how to use one of the deepest rosters in history to keep guys healthy and refresh stories.
What we're afraid they will do
Anything involving the guys from Entourage. Which means that they'll probably be used to set-up a match for Sunday between Show and Orton.
Can WWE resist the temptation to put Ryder in skit with Hollywood DudeBros and just build toward Elimination Chamber?
Find out tonight, and do it with the best damn wrestling community on the interwebs - right here at Cageside Seats!