Seth Rollins is a bad guy now and it’s all your fault, fans.
...That’s Rollins’ excuse for his actions, at least. And whether he’s being truthful about his dealings with the AOP or not, who cares? He’s going to be really fun to hate.
Rollins first showed up by interrupting the Viking Raiders and Street Profits after they had had a match and were doing the viking equivalent of shaking hands, I guess, by bumping forearms. He rushed down to the ring, apologizing to two teams for cutting their moment short, but he just had to get something off his chest. The four men gave him looks of disgust before walking away.
Rollins wanted to plead his case to Owens once again: He wasn’t the bad guy, here. He wasn’t fraternizing with the AOP, nor was he controlling them. And when Kevin Owens showed up to once again call Rollins on his mopey, whiny attitude, Rollins was quick to point fingers and attempt emotional blackmail: “Fine, Kevin! I’ll just leave then since nothing will convince you that I’m on your side.”
I bet Lana’s going to start taking notes from Rollins on causing emotional turmoil.
Owens had a lot on his plate with this show, too. He had multiple backstage segments in his search for the AOP. He had a really funny one with Mojo Rawley and inherited a steel pipe from Rey Mysterio. And in the end, he found a black van backstage and was assaulted by the AOP.
They beat him down motioned to the back of the van, where a crouched figure sat up and took the hood off their head. Can you guess who it was? It was the shock of the century, let me tell you.
Rollins hit Owens with a curb stomp onto the concrete floor before heading back out into the arena to give a little speech. Rollins once again denied having anything to do with the AOP before this show, and expressed frustrations with the way he’s been treated by the fans. He thinks he’s done everything right and still can’t understand why everyone doesn’t love him properly.
And if you view his heel turn through that lens, even teaming up with the AOP is interesting. He’s essentially made a new 3-man group; and hey, we all loved him in his previous 3-man group, right?
This has actually been a really fun storyline - one with some depth and intriguing loose ends. It’s got a lot of potential moving forward as well. Seth, I’m going to really enjoy hating you.
Hand down, Man down
Sooooo...do you think Charlotte and Becky Lynch have learned their lesson? Have they realized hubris doesn’t equate to actually being able to accomplish impossible tasks like taking on Asuka and Kairi Sane single-handedly?
Probably not, if we’re being honest, but at least they’re going to team up now.
I was a bit critical of the Charlotte/Kabuki Warriors match last week, but I like it better in hindsight, especially since Lynch tried the same thing. Charlotte and Lynch are so emotionally guarded. You know what? For My Hero Academia fans, they’re like Todoroki and Bakugo. One’s genetically superior, one’s...quick to anger, to say the least, and neither can express feelings in any meaningful way.
So they do dumb things like challenge people to fights that they cannot win. But hey, at least they’ll offer the other an ice pack!
This was another interesting match, at the very least because competitive handicap matches aren’t extremely common in the WWE. Lynch posted on Twitter reminding everyone of the Royal Rumble when Asuka beat her, and Lynch wanted to get some payback. And in the end, the Kabuki Warriors valued causing pain over the win. Asuka got disqualified for hitting Lynch with a chair, and they put the Man through a table for good measure.
Asuka and Sane beat Charlotte up backstage as well, just because they could. And then they challenged the two to challenge them for their Championships in TLC.
Two teams that absolutely hate each other. I’m in.
Divorce Court with Jerry Springer Lawler
On one hand, I can appreciate aspects of the Lana/Rusev feud.
Lana has these little moments where she is just...so hateable. She pouts when the crowd cheers Rusev, she preens when the attention is properly directed onto her. This whole dog and pony show is her creation and was intentionally crafted to be all about her; and not only that, she does every little thing to make you remember that fact, from signing the contract first to demanding the dog in the divorce. It’s about winning for her.
And that’s why Rusev’s cheery disposition really ticks her off. He’s doing the one thing that can really upset her at this point, which makes it easy to cheer him when he’s “winning.”
So...if you bottled that aspect of this storyline and added it to something significantly better? You might actually have something engaging and fun. The problem, however, is the fact that everything beyond that one dynamic is absolute trash. From the stupidity of the story - how the hell is a divorce supposed to be finalized in a wrestling ring? With Jerry Lawler mediating, of all people?! - to the equally idiotic “I’ll sign these papers only if I get a match with Bobby Lashley” stipulation, it’s just bad. It’s an insult to storytelling in general, a mockery of storyline cohesion.
Here’s a little audience participation, Cageside, so answer these questions in the comments below: What would you call “winning” for Rusev in this feud? His wife is trying to do everything he can to make his life miserable - from cheating on him with Bobby Lashley to taking the dog in the divorce.
So what’s a win here? I’d argue the only way to win is to get out of this toxic relationship and put it all behind him. Instead, he’s fighting Lashley like beating that dude does anything to solve this mess.
No! It makes it worse, dude! Just walk away!!!
I don’t have the energy for this feud anymore.
Rey Mysterio def. AJ Styles - Really fun main event that featured The OC showing how they can really make a difference in a match. Unfortunately, their difference was negated by Randy Orton’s presence in the end. Orton slipped into the ring as Styles went to pin Mysterio, distracting him until Mysterio could reverse it into a roll up.
Orton’s shifting presence on this show has been fun lately. This might be one of his best stints as a face.
Drew McIntyre def. Matt Hardy -
Viking Raiders def. Street Profits - This was a pretty short match, but that kind of shows where the Raiders are at on the totem pole on Raw right now. The Profits also did a Weekend Update knockoff later in the show that was mildly amusing.
Oh, you thought the Wild Card was done? - Owens slapped Rawley backstage for being a troll, so Rawley apparently got the biggest troll of all to help represent him.
Sami Zayn apparently filed for a managerial license to liberate those he deems worthy on either roster. He tried to talk Owens into an apology for Rawley, but Mojo stuck his foot in his mouth. Owens hit him with a Stunner in response.
Aleister Black def. Akira Tozawa - These weekly Tozawa matches are awesome. He does such a great job of making those he wrestles seem like a big deal. His Black Mass sell was so great.
My only concern is that all he’s doing right now is losing a match each week. He needs to pick up some wins and have a bit of a story if these losses are going to do their job over the long haul.
Humberto Carrillo def. Andrade - Hey - a face found a way to overcome Zelina’s attempts to cheat! Take notes, wrestlers.
Fun match. Might ought to find a video of the highlights to this one.
Buddy Murphy def. Zack Ryder - Murphy’s primed pick a fight with Black at TLC. This feud hasn’t had tons of build, but the match at the PPV should be superb.
Erick Rowan vs. Local Talent ends in a no contest - The jobber tried to steal a win by snatching Rowan’s cage and running with it as the ref counted. Rowan caught him, however, and committed unspeakable acts of violence on the jobber’s person.
No touchie cage, folks.
Beyond the Rusev/Lana stuff, I liked this episode. It had some good stories and wrestling. My only complaints are that nothing was really great and that they tried to stuff a lot onto the show. I feel like I’ve written 5,000 words trying to mention it all.