Seth Rollins beat Brock Lesnar.
A mere week after looking like an idiot, and two weeks removed from being stretchered out of the arena, Rollins turned it all around and somehow beat Lesnar.
No idea what to say at this point. I literally don’t know what to say. Considering that it’s my job to type words, that’s problematic.
Rollins came off so unlikeable on the previous episode of Raw – that’s what I’m stuck on. So much so that he got some boos from the Toronto crowd. Hell, Rollins even half-smiled at it knowingly. Lesnar’s reception wasn’t too much better, and that’s the crux of this whole thing. We know these guys can go out and have stellar matches; that’s never been the issue. The issue is all the stuff between said matches. And despite a fun match, I find myself at a loss.
I don’t have any investment in Rollins. He could lose that title on Monday and it wouldn’t bother me a bit. That’s less than ideal, right? He’s supposed to be a guy we care about, someone whose successes matter. They just don’t to me, and this Lesnar feud hasn’t done anything to solve that after a long feud with Baron Corbin.
So where does Rollins go from here? Until WWE figures out how to portray him, does it even matter?
The Fiend def. Finn Balor
Absolutely, breathtakingly, horrifyingly incredible. The Fiend is hands-down my favorite thing in the WWE right now.
That entrance is nuts. That lantern made from Bray’s head are you serious is fantastic. The visuals are on point. The neck snap spot and the Mandible Claw are keepers for sure.
Finn Balor came out in all white gear, which was amusing to me. He knew his role. He knew he was a sacrifice and went all out for it. His wide-eyed expression for the Fiend’s entrance was captivating as well. For a guy who’s supposed to be fearless, that looked a lot like terror, Finn.
This is, quite possibly, the best rollout of a new character I’ve ever seen in the WWE. Props to every single person involved. The only thing I wanted more was for the Fiend would have done something absolutely gruesome and slasher-fic worthy to Balor in the end.
But hey - there’s always Raw on Monday.
Charlotte def. Trish Stratus
When we have wrestlers of the 00s or 90s come back for a match, they’re generally limited in some capacity. And because of that, the match has to be constructed in a way that hides their shortcomings. Viewing this match under that lens makes it so much more interesting to me because Trish didn’t have any obvious, glaring shortcomings.
I mean, I could nitpick and say some things looked slow at times, but what’s the point in that? For a returning wrestler, Trish was as impressive as you could possibly ask for. She killed it.
The match opened with a prolonged beatdown that really wasn’t necessary. Charlotte kept knocking Trish down, and the crowd got restless. There were even some boos sprinkled in as Charlotte talked trash.
But then, Trish became Trish Stratus again. She rose to the challenge and match picked up in a big way. In fact, the match was at its best when Charlotte and Trish started trying to rip each other to shreds.
The cool thing for me was how Stratus started stealing Charlotte’s moves. This feud was all about respect, and funnily enough Stratus always expressed admiration for Charlotte’s abilities. Stealing her moves implies that, doesn’t it? And when Stratus went for a Figure Eight and collapsed from the strain, it does so much to make Charlotte look that much more impressive.
The veteran did the job and did the job. Can’t ask for anything more than that.
Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton ends in a double count out
I agree in part with the Toronto crowd which received this match...less than favorably. This match was probably too slow, especially for a title match four hours into a wrestling show. But with that said, the match was fine – not something you’d go home gushing about, but perfectly fine.
The ending, however? Something was off.
This was supposed to be a feud 10 years in the making, right? Randy Orton had held Kofi Kingston down for a decade and this was a chance for Kingston to stick it to Orton. Well, the match didn’t have the same emotional pull that the story had, and they tried to bring it back for the ending. Orton caught Kingston with an RKO and when Kingston rolled out of the ring, Orton took the time to taunt the champ’s family.
Kofi wasn’t having that, and the brawl that followed earned them a double count out. And while that outcome is fine in theory, it’s just a not very fun way of getting there. I want to see Orton go full Orton with this, if you know what I mean. I want to see him be the psychotic villain that he’s been in the past. If they let him be an awesome antagonist here, I’m fine with the outcome.
But on a night with some electric moments, this finish stuck out for the wrong reasons.
Becky Lynch def. Natalya – This got a little formulaic at the end, but I thought it was a solid opener. I enjoyed the first half of the match more than the parts where they started spamming submissions. Each stole the other’s submission to middling results, but The Man finally got it done with a Disarm-her.
Kevin Owens def. Shane McMahon – I’m glad this wasn’t much of a technical match. They played up the fact that Shane’s always needed help by having Elias at ringside, and KO gave them both the comeuppance they deserved. That low blow was legendary as well.
AJ Styles def. Ricochet - Ricochet’s gear was fantastic. Huge fan of the superhero look for him, especially considering the absurdities he can accomplish in the ring. I hope he brings out similar looks for big matches in the future.
The story in this match was solid. AJ Styles started attacking Ricochet’s leg from the start. Which makes sense, right? An absurdly talented athlete is probably easier to beat when they’re slowed by a knee injury. And that story gave Ricochet the chance to overcome the busted-up knee to hit absurd moves. One-legged springboard? That’s nuts.
And it’s also totally fair that he lost here, you know? Who could expect him to handle an injury and the OC all at the same time?
Man that finish though. Phoenix Splash caught and countered into a Styles Clash. Insanity.
Goldberg def. Dolph Ziggler - This match was so damn entertaining because I was watching it with Watch Along pulled up. Matt Riddle was talking shit the entire time and it was glorious.
I need Goldberg vs. Riddle at some point in the very near future. Please and thank you.
Bayley def. Ember Moon - Ember Moon looked fantastic in this match so can we please let her be a thing on the show now? Again, please and thank you.
(The Avalanche Bayley to Belly was neat.)
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross def. The IIconics – Sorry, IIconics; you’re up against Bliss Lightyear – you’re not walking away with the gold.
Buddy Murphy def. Apollo Crews via DQ after Erick Rowan interferes – Keep his name outta your mouth, Buddy. DB was watching on broodingly backstage.
Edge is still awesome – Speaking of Broods, eat a Spear, Elias.
Drew Gulak def. Loney Orcan – Cruiserweights gonna Cruiserweight.
This was a good show. WWE’s PPVs generally deliver, and most of the complaints I’d have all center around stuff that wasn’t even the fault of things happening on this show. Take the Rollins stuff, for example; if he’d been presented better, this win would have felt much cooler to me.
But with that said, The Fiend is so awesome.
B. For Bray. Let him in.