I’m always a huge fan when wrestling makes sense. It’s the reason I’m going to gripe about the Shane McMahon stuff yet again below this portion of the review.
Kofi Kingston using his newfound WWE Championship swagger to try to right a wrong 10 years ago is riiiight up my alley.
I remember watching that Kingston vs. Orton match 10 years ago, actually. It was so incredible because up until that point, Kingston was just a guy. He was clearly talented, but there was nothing to really emotionally invest in. And then he put on that match with Orton and despite never winning the title, my perception of him changed forever.
And it sounds like Kingston’s perception of himself changed that night as well. He said on this show that that moment 10 years ago was supposed to have been what he finally has right now – and it never happened because Orton used his influence to squash Kingston’s dreams.
Orton, god love him, didn’t even deny it. In fact, he happily claimed credit and said that Kingston should thank him. Not only was Orton protecting Kingston – who he claims was not ready for that moment in 2009 – but he also made Kingston’s current WWE Championship run possible. Who injured Ali? Orton. You’re welcome, Kofi.
Orton also brought out the arrogance in a big way, claiming he never had to work a day in his life like Kofi has. He’s been a multi-time Champion and main eventer simply being himself. That makes it apparent who’s better.
Kingston had a match with Samoa Joe that Orton decided to stick around for before interfering near the end. Kingston was ready though, and Orton had to settle with RKO’ing Joe.
A lot to love about this feud at the moment. Should it main event Summerslam? Probably not, but it’s a hell of a fun story.
Shane’s not only annoying – he’s stupid, too
Booking faces to fight each other is something a smart villain would do. Not only does it keep the villain’s hands clean, but it also can cause dissension between the good guys and make it less likely that one would support the other in the future.
So from that lens, booking Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns makes tons of sense. Shane pits two of the biggest thorns in his side against each other. Intriguing and uncommon.
...But then all of that is thrown out the window as soon as Shane books himself, Elias, and Drew McIntyre to all be in or around ringside for the match. Now, the good guys have a bigger enemy to rally against. And you could argue that it’s Shane’s arrogance that causes it. Fine. Whatever.
It’s still dumb. The match lasted like two seconds. C’mon man.
Sure enough, the good dudes got beaten down for a second before they turned the tables. Thankfully, the good guys rallying was fun because Reigns and Owens rock. The crowd chanted for an encore Stunner and KO gave it to them as Reigns grinned in the background.
...It just proves that Shane’s not only nauseating to watch at this point; he’s a dumb villain as well.
I’m so, I’m so reborn, I’m moving forward
Keep moving forward...keep moving forward.
Reborn is actually a great song to contextualize this Bray Wyatt vs. Finn Balor feud. Wyatt was more literally reborn in this new Fiend character. Meanwhile, Balor’s just trying to push forward to get over his hardships of losing a lot.
...And while Balor’s trying to forget and shake it off, Wyatt said it explicitly on this show: The Fiend remembers. The Fiend is no man. The Fiend refuses to let go.
Balor was out to be interviewed in the ring by Kayla Braxton and he was visibly a bit shaken by everything Wyatt’s done. But he toughened up at last to challenge Wyatt to a match at Summerslam.
In the words of Randy Orton...Stupid! Stupid!!!
We actually got a new Firefly Fun House out of it! Wyatt answered the call with a smile and heartfelt platitudes for Balor, calling himself a huge fan. However...the Fiend is not a fan.
The Fiend remembers.
Hell yeah. Balor’s walking into this so wholly unprepared. It’s going to be – and should be – an absolute bloodbath at Summerslam.
Dolph Ziggler complains, superkicks Shawn Michaels – This was a pretty damn good segment. Miz and Michaels were waxing on about whatever on MizTV, but it got interesting once Ziggler interfered and started ranting about how Michaels broke his heart.
He called Michaels out for the Saudi gig! That’s insane! He called it an embarrassment which...you know. It’s a shame, at the very least. And then Michaels went for the jugular, sliced it in two, and Ziggler knocked him out with his own move in retaliation.
No idea where any of this goes, but it was fun!
Shinsuke Nakamura def. Apollo Crews – Tom Phillips called Apollo a “rising star” on SmackDown, which is equal parts laughable and intriguing. Laughable because he’s been on the main roster for nearly three years now, and intriguing because of how well New Day put him over on commentary.
Let me make this clear: I can’t commend New Day enough on their commentary. They killed it and did more for Apollo than pretty much anything that I can remember. It seems to give him a story going forward, too! Xavier was screaming “where are your friends?!” so loudly at the end that it seems the logical conclusion, right? Yeah, Apollo; go make you some friends to watch your back!
Ali is holding the pen – It’s fitting on a show where Orton brought up injuring Ali that Ali talked about it himself. I like how he’s making the goal clear here. He’s not going after a consolation prize. He name-dropped the WWE Championship yet again. Ali needs to get back in the ring to prove all this talk, but I like how this is framed thus far.
Ember Moon def. Charlotte - ...So that’s how we’re gonna get Charlotte into this thing, huh?
This match got no time at all before Bayley came out to distract for a roll up. Charlotte had a interview later where she complained about being left off of Summerslam before vowing to get on the card “with a better opponent than Ember Moon.”
Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville have a match scheduled next week – Flubbed line aside, this a good spot for them for now...unless all that side-eye stuff wasn’t awkwardness and was instead a rift forming in the team.
I enjoyed this show way more than I thought I would. And looking back on it, that’s pretty odd considering three of the matches featured some sort of quick/weird finish. I could take or leave the Shane stuff and I want much more from this Women’s Championship feud, but despite all of that, there was enough here to sink your teeth into.
Your turn, Cageside!