I asked for more Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade Cien Almas last week. And since the new WWE is all about the fans, that’s exactly what we got.
I’d call myself a genius but...c’mon. Who didn’t see this coming?
Andrade vs. Mysterio was easily my favorite match of the night, the week – hell, the year so far. WWE gave these two icons a good 20 minutes to just go tear the house down. And gee! Two amazing wrestlers did precisely that.
Everything about this was spot on. Rey Mysterio started the match with a series of headlocks and techniques to slow down the younger superstar and Corey Graves was awesome in pointing it out. It makes sense, right? If Andrade had one advantage over the seasoned Mysterio, it was going to be his speed and explosive power. Mysterio did all he could to sap that strength early.
And what followed was the most inevitable thing ever. Andrade was able to turn the tables, hit some strikes, and the match just grew more bonkers every minute. Traded pin attempts led to a blocked victory roll and sitout powerbomb to the floor by Andrade. Mysterio would counter minutes later with a Frankensteiner from the apron that sent Andrade bouncing below.
A Seated Senton, a Yoshi Tonic – I’m just reading from Rev. Claire Elizabeth’s live blogging now, by the way. Thanks, Claire! - ANOTHER Canadian Destroyer. A Crucifix Driver. COME ON, MAN!
I gave John Cena so much credit last night for putting Finn Balor over. Cena did it with his voice more than anything, but Rey Mysterio? This dude just gave Andrade the spotlight to show how freaking incredible he is. And then he took the fall for the younger man. Mysterio had been worried about Andrade’s strength and speed, you see, but he forgot about the wild card: Zelina Vega. A quick distraction, a desperate dive to unseat Mysterio from the top rope, and a Hammerlock DDT sealed the deal for Andrade as he continued his march to the Royal Rumble.
I wish we could have a match like this each week. Hell, we know WWE has the talent for it! But I think the main takeaway here is that WWE is finally starting to heat up Andrade. And if they do this correctly, they might have a top of the card star on their hands.
By the way, WWE? Revisit that match anytime you like. It was incredible.
Anything you can do...
...The Empress can do quicker. While screaming angrily in Japanese.
The cold open to this show had Becky Lynch interacting in a wildly fun segment with Heavy Machinery and New Day – more on that later – before hitting the ring to talk trash to her Royal Rumble opponent Asuka. Everyone’s tried to be like her since she broke through, Lynch said, but Asuka’s learning how difficult it is to lead the Women’s Division.
What followed was another excellent build to the Rumble.
Asuka came out with a mocking smile, criticizing Lynch for her penchant to talk a lot and comparing the former champ to a little bee with no sting. Ouch. Before the two could come to blows, the IIconics appeared to make a general nuisance of themselves.
Lynch called them out and dared one of them to fight her. It was a long, entertaining match, but Lynch eventually prevailed by locking in a Disarmher on Peyton Royce. Angered at ringside by Lynch’s taunting, Auska chased down Billie Kay and defeated her quickly.
I thought this was a good look for everyone involved, actually. Lynch needs no building up. The crowd chanted in her favor were hooked to everything she did. Asuka looks much more dangerous with that angered streak, and the IIconics got a huge spotlight to work their magic and get exposure leading up to this first ever tag team titles match.
In the end, the two opponents fumed inches from one another at the crowd chanted “Fight!” But of course, AJ Styles had to interrupt. I liked that decision as well, actually. It provided an initial shock while also allowing WWE a way to save the actual confrontation for next week. Well done all around.
The Rest of SmackDown Live
“It’s a little weak” - The cold open of this show was a MASTERPIECE. Otis from Heavy Machinery was putting together some insanely disgusting...protein cocktail as the New Day looked on in horror. “OH YEAH,” said Otis. “OH NO,” said Xavier.
Becky Lynch walks up and offers to try the blend. A LITTLE WEAK, SHE SAID. Good god. Shout out to Xavier picking the perfect time to reveal his “The Man” shirt as Lynch walked up.
AJ Styles offers a rebuttal – After Daniel Bryan’s rant last week, Styles was quick to refute the champion. In his eyes, the fans pay money and that should mean something. They should get what they want. He tossed his merchandise to onlooking fans for free before Bryan attacked. Styles was eventually able to throw Bryan through a table of hot dogs.
I really love how this feud is doing the opposite of the women’s feud. Where Lynch and Asuka are holding back, Bryan and Styles are just going at each other any chance they get.
Samoa Joe is pure evil – Joe wanted to send a violent, intimidating message to all the Rumble contestants. He was scheduled to fight Mustafa Ali, but he took a cheap shot before the bell could ever ring and obliterated the man. Those ring post sells by Ali were insane!
I also really liked the flickering heart on Ali’s chest as he was down and out on the floor. That’s perhaps an aesthetic thing that only I enjoyed, but it was a visual that reminded me that Ali’s heart is still beating. I can’t wait to see his response next week.
Mandy Rose is vile and Sonya Deville’s over it – Okay, I realize this Rose/Naomi feud isn’t for everyone. I am largely on board, but there have been some issues. But c’mon man, how can you not enjoy Deville’s eyeroll when Rose revealed her plan?
Rose sent Jimmy Uso a hotel room key with the clear implication that she wanted to have sex with him. I realize that that alone will turn some people away from this story. However, I enjoy the spin on it – Rose is weaponizing her sexuality solely because she hates Naomi and wants to ruin her life.
It’s such an outrageous response, isn’t it? “I dislike this person. Oh, I know! I’m gonna sleep with her husband just to shatter her happiness.” That’s madness. This lady is crazy. And luckily, Jimmy Uso wasn’t tempted. He clearly told his wife and let Naomi handle this on her own terms.
All of THAT, I’m fine with. Happy with, even. I just thought the hotel scene was not nearly as memorable as it could have been. I hope Naomi tears this woman apart.
Happy Birthday, Shane! - I feel like this is the sort of program I’d dislike if the rest of the show was poor. But how can you complain when these two are bonding over smashing cake in Sheamus’ face? Even Shane getting up like an old man after the Coast to Coast was amusing.
That’s three good shows in a row for the main roster in my book. I was flirting with an A+ through the Andrade/Mysterio match, actually. The final 50 minutes or so cooled it off a bit, though.
I’ll go bump this over Raw just because of that Almas/Mysterio match, man. That was insane.