This has got to be the most WWE thing imaginable.
Brock Lesnar was going to cash-in his Money in the Bank contract quickly, until he heard Paul Heyman note he had an entire year to do so whenever he chose. He bailed at that point, because, hey, that’s his choice, right?
WWE then releases a video that makes absolutely zero sense, where Stephanie McMahon explains that it’s not cool for Lesnar to act like he was going to cash-in and then not deliver on that fact. There would be repercussions and so on and so forth. The response to this was immediate and included Paul Heyman outright saying Lesnar would be cashing in on Monday Night Raw this week, and WWE promoting as much in the days leading up to the show.
It’s an easy hook to get fans to tune in. An early appearance by Universal Champion Seth Rollins on Miz TV made clear that they weren’t going to get to it right away either, as it served to tease it without actually giving it up. That also makes sense as a ratings ploy.
Then, a bit later, Rollins shows up to bait Lesnar, and instead we get Baron Corbin. That’s really just a way to soften up Rollins to get him ready for when Lesnar actually arrives, and when he does he absolutely beats the trash out of the champ, to the point he ended up doing a stretcher job. He did that stretcher job with his title, however, because Lesnar, despite a clear and easy opening to win the title, loudly proclaimed he would actually be cashing it in on Friday at Super ShowDown in Jeddah.
So WWE used what looked like a guaranteed title change as a ploy to bring in viewers only to swerve them, not actually deliver what was advertised, and instead try to sell fans that, no, really, they’ll deliver it next time and you just have to tune in to Super ShowDown to see it. That “it,” by the way, is something no one wants to see anyway. And that show, by the way, is one they’re doing in Saudi Arabia for money they shouldn’t be taking. Said show is airing at 2 pm ET, by the way, while many folks are still at work.
But, hey, you can just watch it when you get home on the award winning WWE Network!
This is the absolute worst storyline, everyone looks bad, and instead of making me actually want to watch the matches it’s supposed to be building to, convinced me it is a total and complete waste of time believing in anything WWE says or does.
Undertaker showed up with just minutes left in the show. The only reason he was there was to say he would really like it if the old Goldberg could show up at Super ShowDown and not the family man who is just here to make his family happy. Because if he doesn’t, their first match together will be Goldberg’s last match, period.
”When the reaper beckons, you answer his call. I will claim your soul for all of eternity. Goldberg ... you’re next!”
What’s incredible is that this was probably one of the better promos Undertaker has cut in the last decade or so but it doesn’t really matter because I can’t imagine there being an actual person who wants to see this Undertaker vs. Goldberg match. Two guys who are basically retired already threatening to retire each other isn’t how you build a compelling match, but we all know the score here. These two still have bankable names and are both getting big fat checks for working the show in Saudi Arabia.
This doesn’t need to be any good. It’s already bought and paid for.
Six-man standard: Shane McMahon’s promo to open this show was the very definition of a boilerplate pro wrestling promo. “I am going to wrestle you at the upcoming show and I am going to beat you up and you are not going to beat me up.” Roman Reigns’ response followed the same template, except he also booked a future match with Drew McIntyre. It felt incredibly stale, because this entire program still doesn’t make much sense considering how it kicked off. The good news was the crowd was incredibly hot for it once The Revival and The Usos hit the scene and a chaotic mess of action broke out leading into the previously promoted six-man tag team match. Chaotic action is something WWE still does relatively well -- save for the god awful production -- so this started lame but managed to work out okay. A lot of heat for the heels too, which deserves accolades.
Lars and not actually in charge: I guess the best way to promote a match that is days away is to make the big monster look like he isn’t that much of a monster after all, and the three little guys he’s been running through actually have a chance at beating him. I guess.
The Raw women’s championship: Becky Lynch is still looking for a fight, so Lacey Evans came out and said “when I get my hands on you” despite being literally two feet from her. Naturally, this turned into an Evans vs. Charlotte Flair match. It was fine, but predictably ended with Lynch standing tall after laying Evans out. WWE isn’t wrong to try pushing Evans this hard, but she just doesn’t feel all that interesting as a foil to Lynch, or even as a heel opponent to Flair. If anything, tonight made it clear it’s time to move on from this.
Rey Mysterio relinquishes the U.S. championship: The way WWE played this really cracked me up. They put this over like it was a soul crushing ordeal for Mysterio, having to give up a title he had held for less than a month, during a disaster of a match that saw both participants get hurt. It was also strange that Mysterio’s angle was to do the right thing as a father and a champion and relinquish the title due to injury, not because he never actually won the title, as Samoa Joe pointed out, because Joe’s shoulders weren’t on the mat for the pinfall at Money in the Bank. A missed opportunity, me thinks. Still, Joe was great here and Mysterio will likely be back sooner rather than later. Here’s to hoping they can have the match they deserve at some point in the near future.
Over the top: I’m all about leaning into the silliness that is pro wrestling, so booking Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley in an arm wrestling match is my kind of sports entertainment. Strowman won this time, but I’d love to see who would come out on top in a shoot arm wrestling match. It didn’t really make me want to see their match at Super ShowDown anymore than I did before it, but whatever.
Play(ed): I think perhaps the only person who would fall for cozying up to Alexa Bliss is the person who is so neglected no one even knew they were wrestling on a particular show. In that sense, this alliance between Bliss and Nikki Cross makes some sense. Plus, there’s a lot of potential for a solid payoff with these two characters and their motivations. I have zero confidence in WWE to deliver that, considering, but at least the potential is there.
Firefly Fun House: Deeply, deeply disturbing stuff.
Face-to-face: Triple H and Randy Orton came together for a promo that ended up being legitimately interesting if only because they made it feel like they were bantering back-and-forth without a script trying to one-up each other. Orton taking a shot at Triple H’s balls being in Stephanie’s purse was strong but Trips responding by saying they’re so big he needs help carrying them around, something Orton wouldn’t know because he doesn’t have any, was perfect. “Well played,” Orton could be seen responding as he smiled at his upcoming opponent. This was really good.
Ricochet def. Cesaro: Two talented wrestlers working a fun match? More, please!
24/7: Cesaro looking for a table to drag from under the ring and finding Truth hiding there made me laugh. Carmella superkicking Drake Maverick and assisting Truth in making his escape from the large group still chasing him down did as well. I continue to love everything they’re doing with this belt.
There is just too much talent who are far too versatile for everything to feel so ordinary.