All throughout the show, the Rollins vs. Strowman went just about how you’d expect.
Although neither of them turned on the other, there was a breakdown during their Tag Team Championship match to open the show. Strowman barreled into Robert Roode, who then crashed into Seth Rollins. Before Strowman could right his wrong, he was tossed from the ring as Rollins was knocked out with the Glorious DDT. Strowman would blame Rollins after the match, and vice versa.
That led to their singles match for the Universal Championship to end the show, which had its moments...but again, went as you’d probably expect. Strowman had his moment by leaping from the top rope and Rollins had to fight similarly to how he did against Brock Lesnar. It took four Curb Stomps to make it happen, but Rollins finally put Strowman down for good.
And we could talk about Strowman coming up short yet again, of course. Depending on how you feel about him as a talent, that could range from an odd choice to downright egregious. However, I’d much rather talk about You-Know-Who. The Dark Lord.
Y’know. Bray Wyatt.
He told us this was coming, after all. A rattlesnake’s skin is the same color as the leaves, he said. You’ve got to get them before they get you. Well Rollins, it serves you right for sitting on your laurels. The snake bit you.
Man, I can’t wait for this match. The roar of approval from the crowd when Wyatt appeared was probably the loudest of the night. Here’s to hoping our next Universal Champion is a fiendish one.
The two woman power trip continues
My oh my. D-did Bayley just win a match by...cheating?!
Bayley and Sasha Banks have dominated the women’s division in recent weeks – and for good reason. Their story is captivating. All throughout 2018, those two were friends, rivals, and everything in between. And all throughout that journey, the fans were left asking for more.
We’re finally getting it. Bayley’s frustrations and insecurities are twisting her righteous intentions right before our very eyes. A mere week after calling Charlotte Flair the most selfish person on the roster, Bayley went and exposed a turnbuckle to steal a win.
Meanwhile, Banks took the fight to Becky Lynch and it rocked. For the longest time, their match went back and forth with a brutality that is rare in WWE matches; we generally only see with with Lesnar and Ronda Rousey when she was around.
The funny thing is Banks tried to cheat to win, just like her best friend. She distracted the ref, delivered a chair shot to Lynch’s stomach, and earned a two count for her troubles. Lynch tried to even the score, but ended up hitting the ref. They brawled throughout the arena for several minutes afterwards before the match reached an official decision: Banks won via DQ.
I like that WWE went with the disqualification here. It prolongs the feud as Bayley slips further into villainy. If WWE gets creative with Bayley, this could be really fun at the next PPV.
Guardians of Asgaard
So I was planning to lead in by talking about how Erick Rowan looked in his first big match since tossing Daniel Bryan to the curb but...LUKE HARPER SHOWED UP IN AN AMON AMARTH SHIRT THIS IS NOT A DRILL FOLKS!
I liked this match better than the Kingston vs. Orton match that came before it, despite the fact that they were both pretty similar in style. This one was a no disqualification match though, which allowed the wrestlers to roam around ringside without any issues.
And for the most part, this was about Rowan. He worked intelligently and stayed on top of Roman Reigns for pretty much the duration of the match. He did the small things well, too; when he powerbombed Reigns through the commentary table, for example, he rushed to get Reigns back into the ring.
Reigns finally got the upper hand right at the end, and that’s precisely when Harper made his appearance. Reigns was rushing down the ramp for a Spear as Harper destroyed him with a big boot. With Harper’s help, Rowan secured the victory over Reigns.
The question, of course, is whether they’re a solo act or with someone else. Rowan said he was all on his own...except he clearly isn’t is he? There are enough plausible possibilities to make this intriguing as well. We still can’t entirely rule out Bryan. The duo may be working alone. Hell, maybe Bray Wyatt’s been in their ear once again.
Just keep wearing Amon Amarth shirts, guys; I won’t say a bad word against ya.
Kofi Kingston def. Randy Orton to retain the WWE Championship – I’m just not a huge fan of this feud. This was another match of theirs where I just...it’s just not for me. And it sucks because I like both of these guys, but it is what it is.
Orton was in control for the majority of this match. He hit a really nice RKO at one point after staggering from a kick. His game plan was his usual slow, meticulous dissection of an opponent. Kofi would rally, but this bout never felt lively enough.
The Revival def. The New Day to win the SmackDown Tag Team Championships – It wasn’t all roses and positivity for the New Day, however. After they were both taken out in Kingston’s feud with Orton, Big E and Xavier Woods were unable to keep their championships away from the Revival. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder bragged about how they’re going to bring “old school” back to those titles, so we’ll see what that entails.
AJ Styles def. Cedric Alexander to retain the US Championship – The fact that this match was on the preshow is peculiar; we don’t see AJ Styles on pre-show every day, after all. And honestly, it’s a bit disheartening for me. Alexander has been killing it on Raw and I would have liked to have seen him rewarded with a lengthy PPV match.
The match was still fun, but it was fairly short. Styles got the win without too much trouble – which isn’t too terribly surprising – and invited the OC to the ring afterwards for a post-match beatdown.
Shinsuke Nakamura def. The Miz to retain the Intercontinental Championship – This felt like a big deal, which is a pleasant surprise from how the Intercontinental Championship has been booked for a month or two now. Nakamura showed up in the world’s most majestic cape and his court jester Sami Zayn was making such a ruckus on the microphone that they actually cut him off.
Zayn came in clutch, too. When Nakamura was felled by a Skull-Crushin Finale, Zayn made sure the ref couldn’t count the fall. Hopefully, we see this duo making waves on SmackDown moving forward.
Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss def. Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville to retain the Womens Tag Team Championships – I liked the 24/7 Championship interruption and Alexa Bliss going for the roll up on R-Truth, but my favorite thing about this match was Nikki Cross picking up the win on the person who was shaming her last week. As Renee Young said on commentary, “I thought we were, like, building women up?”
Drew Gulak def. Lince Dorado, Humberto Carrillo to retain the Cruiserweight Championship – I was impressed by Humberto Carrillo in this match as well as Vic Joseph on commentary. Carrillo was framed in a way where going after the Cruiserweight Championship didn’t feel like a consolation prize; it felt like the title best suited for him in this moment.
Carrillo and Lince Dorado both came across extremely likeable and this felt different from your usual WWE match – which is what you’d want from the 205 Live gang.
Street Profits made a Lion King reference a week after I did – I mean look...Chad Gable is Simba. I’m glad the Street Profits and I could come to this agreement.
Oh yeah. King Booker showed up in the segment. Much less important.
Tough show to grade. The mid card stuff felt ordinary – not bad, just what you’d expect. It was fun, but nothing stuck out.
I think the women were the strongest portion of this show, honestly. Bayley and Sasha Banks’s stories are really fun, and the tag match was fun for the right reasons as well. Some of the men’s stuff didn’t stick with me the right way.
Leave it to the Fiend to fix those problems.
Ready for the Fiend in a cell, Cageside?