Another unique concept born out of the mind of Bray Wyatt. Braun was attacked by some masked men, and then hit with a shovel by… himself in a black sheep mask. He woke up chained to a chair as Bray’s old music played. Wyatt started preaching to Braun to try and get the old monster out of him.
An interesting thing to note is that Wyatt stated that he’s been “alive” this whole time, and that he’s been rotting in a hell in his own mind while watching his actions through his own eyes and being unable to control them. This version of Bray may be the “Heal” while the Funhouse Bray is the “Hurt” whenever the Fiend appears. I absolutely love the nuance here.
Braun wakes up by some fire in a scene you could take out of the show “Naked and Afraid.” A random dude gets in a fight with him and then gets set on fire. Then arguably the best part of this whole thing happened. Alexa Bliss appeared in Braun’s mind telling him to come home and be with her, because he’s always wanted to be with her. Mixed Match challenge footage plays from when they got flirty. I loved this part.
Wyatt used it as a distraction but Braun put him in a boat that went away. It returned empty and there was fighting in the water, until Braun got away and climbed back to the dock. Braun pushed Wyatt off and thought it was finished, but was given a mandible claw and… drowned? It’s unclear. What is clear is that the Fiend appeared in the end as the screen faded to black.
My biggest takeaway from this was old Bray is being held hostage in his own mind and trying to get out, and the only way he seems to be able to do that is by having a part of his old self by his side. Why I think old Bray is actually not evil - right at the end, before the Fiend pops up, Bray appeared to be trying to get out and was pulled back into the water. The Fiend needs old Bray to stay locked away in the mind of Funhouse Bray because Funhouse Bray is his outlet for destruction.
If every angle in WWE had this type of storytelling, that’d be greeeeeeeat.
The cheater wins again
Before the match, Alexa Bliss, Asuka, and Kairi Sane were in the back hyping Cross up. They said she’s good enough and that she’ll beat Bayley. Then Sane said that even if she loses, they’ll still be friends. The little pep rally was a great touch to make sure Cross was not feeling negative and unworthy.
Cross was a ball of fury starting off this match, already going for a two count within the first minute and a half. Cross had so much fire in this match and I loved it. She hit a few cross bodies and Bayley looked exasperated. Cross’s slingshot kick and tornado DDT on the outside was great as well. And when Bayley couldn’t get it done herself, Sasha slipped her the Boss knuckles and the ref didn’t see it. The shot of those knuckles on the floor was fantastic production.
Post-match, Cross was flailing around on the floor. I like what some have said of having her turn heel on Alexa. I have wanted to see a singles run from both of them in these alignments. I will enjoy Alexa trying to calm her down, playing the role as motivational speaker like on SmackDown. As for Bayley, this was expected. I also liked that Sasha helped her, and that led into the next section.
Bold strategy, Cotton. Let’s see if it pays off for her.
This was match of the night for me. It was definitely not finish of the night.
The storytelling was wonderful. Sasha was determined to be the champion so much so she reverted back to true vicious TakeOver Brooklyn Sasha stomping on Asuka’s fingers. Sasha was basically rag dolled around by Asuka for parts of the match, and Sasha is just so damn good at it. Even though sometimes it would probably be best for her to be safer so she doesn’t seriously injure herself!
Sasha’s moment of the night came after what seemed to be a botch. She fell off the top rope and clutched her knee, the ref was going to call for the bell, but Sasha screams at the ref “Get out of my face, ref! I’m the next champion. I have to be. I have to be the champion!”
Bayley tossed in a tag title and Sasha tapped out, but the ref wasn’t looking. Bayley tried to interfere and Asuka kicked her down. Sasha tried to use the other title but the ref pried it away and while they argued, Asuka turned Sasha around, Sasha ducked and Asuka sprayed the mist in the ref’s face. So Bayley attacked Asuka, put on the ref’s shirt and counted the three for her. I think it’s important to point out that Bayley didn’t get jealous of the idea of Sasha also being champion like I had thought at first.
Sasha didn’t win, but Bayley had the bell rung and Sasha’s music played. How in the hell do they explain this one? It was bold! However, I think you can’t just put one of those striped shirts on and become a referee. Right?
Bold strategy, Cotton. It didn’t pay off for him.
Dolph Ziggler is a smart man. Possibly one of the smartest ever in WWE.
Why? Ziggler’s super-secret stipulations for this match - extreme rules for him only! Also, McIntyre could not intentionally DQ or walk away and get counted out.
Bold! It created a few neat spots in the match, too. Ziggler introduced a chair and McIntyre grabbed it, but remembered the stipulations and had to drop it. Later on the outside, Dolph set up a table and McIntyre went to powerbomb him through it, but again, no can do! Ziggler later elbow dropped him through it though. Ziggler hit multiple finishers, even one on a chair, but McIntyre kept kicking out. Ziggler set up a superkick, but McIntyre sent him to Claymore Country for the win.
Poor Dolph, man. That’s a rough loss. The announcement of his stipulations just made me laugh, even though it was smart of him. I laughed, as others probably did, because we knew the inevitable - Dolph was always losing regardless of what stipulations he picked. What’s next for him, who knows? I wouldn’t want to show my face after that. As for Drew, Orton should be next for him once he disposes of Big Show on Raw.
Seth Rollins took Rey Mysterio’s eye - There were some cool spots, but overall, this wasn’t fun. (And no, not just because I ate cake and then saw the end of the match. Thanks, WWE I feel like vomiting now.) Rey did two really cool sunset flip powerbombs by sliding out of the ring and executing the move on Seth into the barricade. Also a cool spot with a kendo stick on the turnbuckle. Let’s get to the important part. Rey hit a curb stomp on Seth and almost “extracted” his eye, but Seth low blowed him.
Seth curb stomped Rey, and then pushed his already damaged eye into the steps once again. And we had an eye out of its socket! Then... we had Seth puking. I feel sick again just thinking about it. It was all fake of course, but not having this be cinematic kind of ruined the interest in this match for me. I appreciated the fake eye spot. The other part… no. Ugh. I was disappointed with this one. I would have rather Seth lost and continue his downward spiral.
The Artists def. New Day - Well this was a surprise! I’m really happy to finally see some good vibes tossed Cesaro’s and Shinsuke’s way. Big E and Kofi brought the heat to the Artists and spread themselves around the ring area. Big E speared Shinsuke through the ropes and I almost thought it was over because they had set up a table right there, but they JUST missed that table. Cesaro smashed Big E’s head into the turnbuckle at one point and it looked like it may have rocked him a little. Cesaro put Kofi through the two tables Kofi and Big E set up.
It was a really fun first match, but it lacked a bit of excitement from the crowd for me. It sort of seems like the crowd is relying more on banging on the plexiglass to make noise than cheering. Time for The Artists to shine for a little while. We just need some more tag teams on SmackDown. Let’s get Miz and Morrison back in the tag scene, and Lucha House Party. I feel like they’ll do a rematch first, though.
This show had really good wrestling with a number of questionable booking decisions. Sasha and Asuka was my match of the night, and I am very interested in seeing how Bayley’s interjection as unofficial referee plays out on Raw. I am excited for The Artists starting their tag title reign on SmackDown, as well as what Funhouse Bray has in store for us. I’d prefer if Braun didn’t just show back up like Styles did after the Boneyard match and just goes back to his usual stuff.
We all heard enough of this “Horror Show” tagline and I do have to say, it fit with the few horror aspects of the show. Let’s save it for October, though. The Horror Show at Hell in a Cell sounds better.
What were your thoughts, Cagesiders?