The early portion of this show had a lot of lower card stuff. That’s perfectly fine, of course, but it was all the sort of groundwork for this character or that to start building towards something in the future. Make no mistake – I’m all for groundwork! I like consistent, long-term storytelling!
It just needs to be balanced by bigger, more impactful moments in the present. And the start of the second hour gave us exactly that.
Hello, Sasha Banks. You have been missed terribly.
The WWE women’s division has suffered a bit on the heels of losing both Banks and Ronda Rousey right after WrestleMania. WWE utilized both Lacey Evans and the Nikki Cross/Alexa Bliss story to try to fit those shoes, and I’ll let you be the judge of how successful that was.
From my perspective, the list of genuine contenders for Women’s Championships was beginning to run dry. Banks solves that immediately.
Natalya was out to talk about her dislocated elbow, her ongoing issues with Lynch, and to try to win the crowd with her words. And I think she did fine here; Toronto’s just weird. They chanted “boring!” for a moment as Natalya talked about her late father. What the hell, Toronto?
Banks chose that exact moment to reintroduce herself to the crowd, all smiles and hugs and handing out merch to the fans. Her purple hair seemed awfully long, but what do I know?
Well, I do know this: Banks is an absolute legend when it comes to heel turns. This time, she interrupted an injured woman essentially eulogizing her father, giving the woman a heartfelt hug...and then blindsiding her with a vicious punch.
She beat the tar out of Natalya until Lynch ran out to attempt a save, only to get absolutely destroyed by Banks as well. Challenger acquired, Lynch. These promos are going to be so much fun.
Braun’s back in the title scene
Seth Rollins came out to open the show talking about how the fans powered him through that Brock Lesnar match. I’m going to skip that because I have nothing positive to say about it.
AJ Styles came out to interrupt and challenged the new Universal Champion to a match, one that Rollins, despite what have to be a set of broken ribs at this point, accepted to main event the show.
It was good, but the story was never really about these two. They fought and it just...was what it was. The OC cheated, Rollins endured, and in the end the OC chose to ignore the referee’s order to leave ringside. They assaulted Rollins, earning a DQ in favor of the Universal Champ.
Ricochet tried to come make the save, but we established at SummerSlam that fighting three other men is too much for Ricochet. And after he failed, Braun Strowman appeared to run the heels off for good. As Rollins struggled to his feet, Strowman went to go get Rollins’ championship and hand it to him with a handshake.
Aw, good guys; they do nice things sometimes.
I’d imagine this is our next feud: Rollins vs. Strowman. Who else is available, honestly? It might be a fun one as well.
The Women’s Tag Titles exist!
After weeks and weeks of the Women’s Tag Team Championships being lost in the ether of WWE, we’ve finally gotten a string of shows where it’s played a significant part. Neat!
Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross had a promo where they promised to be the good ol’ “fighting champions” you hear so much about, and they started that off by defending against the Kabuki Warriors.
Fun match! It’s still weird to see Asuka in this position after her Royal Rumble win over Lynch, but it’s only because of how shakily this whole tag division has been booked. If Asuka was always on shows, it’d be a different story. Hopefully, this is the start of that happening.
But who’s left for the champs to face? They’ve basically defeated all the tag teams in, oh, a week.
King of the Ring announced – Hey, this could be fun! The nice thing is there are so many guys who I think would make excellent Kings of the Ring: Andrade, Ali, Samoa Joe, Drew McIntyre, Cedric Alexander...
Andrade def. Rey Mysterio – Speaking of El Idolo, he swept a 2 out of 3 falls match. That’s eye-opening, and Rey was emotional when interviewed backstage about it. He referenced his family several times, which might be another attempt to get Dominick in on the fray.
Drew McIntyre def. Cedric Alexander – I’m actually a big fan of this feud. Cedric just went out and picked a fight with the biggest bully he could and he’s out here hitting Spanish Flys to try to make it big. More please.
Samoa Joe def. Sami Zayn – Zayn really needs to learn to keep his mouth shut. He was jabbering away to the Street Profits and Samoa Joe snuck up to hear Zayn badmouthing him. Joe won this in short fashion, but says he’ll never forgive the fans for accusing him of trying to kill Roman Reigns.
This felt like a setup for a deep King of the Ring run to me.
24/7 Title changes – The Revival were dual champions after a chase for R-Truth spilled into the ring, but R-Truth won it back before Elias smashed him with a guitar backstage to win the title.
Miz def. Dolph Ziggler – The flesh wound line was funny, as are Ziggler’s antics. I just have no idea where this stuff is going.
Ricochet def. Elias – Okay hold up. In Ricochet’s feud with AJ Styles, we literally had a second ref come out to overturn a bad call. Now, Elias is getting screwed over in a decision and there’s no second ref.
Consistency. Please. I’m literally begging for consistency.
Stone Cold praises Seth Rollins via Skype – At first, I thought that this was supposed to be an ad for Skype – which is silly, of course. We’ve all moved to Discord by this point, right?
Well then it became clear: it’s an ad for Austin’s show. Wonderful.
Robert Roode def. No Way Jose – I have absolutely no clue how to feel about Roode anymore. He had a mustache for a bit and seemed to have a new persona. Now, he’s back to his usual self but going by Robert instead of Bobby. I’m confused. Help?
Viking Raiders def. Local Talent – You’ve seen it. It’s the same as it’s been.
I feel like I was pretty down on the majority of this show, in retrospect. It was just a middling, average thing until the Sasha Banks moment. That alone ups the grade a bit.