I’d like to start by pointing out that Roman Reigns went back to the gimmick of demanding the city WWE is in that particular night acknowledge him, and he did so in the most baller way possible:
“Tiny little no name town, acknowledge me.”
With that said, I can see arguments on the side of this storyline getting just a tad repetitive in nature, with Reigns playing mob boss and getting upset at his underlings when they screw up in ways he deems unacceptable. I don’t even necessarily disagree with those criticisms.
The reason it still works for me is the attention to detail, the commitment to the bit by those involved in the story. Roman’s utter contempt at not just The Usos failures but the optics said failures create is fantastic, and he’s equally good at bringing that across. His anger is almost palpable, and Jimmy & Jey are so very good at bringing across their shame and embarrassment you almost feel it too.
There’s something to be said for that in the current WWE. These are barely wrestlers anymore — they’re all doing something much closer to acting, and this group right here is leading the way as far as adjusting to what this world, or Universe, rather, is and can be.
Like it or not, this is the future.
Meanwhile, I quite like The New Day and King Xavier Woods being used as a foil here, considering their historical success against The Usos and Woods’ newfound status as king. It’s a natural opposing force to a powerful figure like Reigns. It’s also maybe our first real chance to see Woods as a singles star, complete with a new theme song and everything.
“If you show up next week, I’ma show you what a king looks like,” Reigns said to a laid out Woods to close the show.
I’m intrigued to see where they go with this.
All the rest
- Naomi vs. Shayna Baszler was a surprisingly fun match this time around, far better than the first meeting between the two. Naomi did this:
- Holy shit! In the end, Sonya Deville reversed a Naomi win, giving Baszler the chance to choke her out and continuing a feud between the two over seemingly nothing. Still no real explanation, but they’re executing well otherwise.
- Ridge Holland is much better spoken than I ever realized before. WWE might actually have something here.
- Speaking of great delivery, how about Shotzi during that backstage interview? She’s good enough to make me forget she’s reciting lines, and I mean that in the best way possible.
- Los Lotharios is a pretty damn cool name for a tag team, and I won’t be told otherwise. The fact that they have to randomly put Mansoor with Cesaro to form a team to job to them is not.
- Naomi wasn’t the only one doing “holy shit” level moves on this show:
- My god, that’s incredible. Drew McIntyre beat Ricochet, the latest wrestler to answer his open challenge, and he did so in impressive fashion. It’s really hard to go wrong with stuff like this. Watching McIntyre eschew the weird stories about his sword in favor of just beating up whoever dares answer the call is exactly what I want out of a big hoss. I’m down to keep this going for a while.
- On a side note, I’m down to revisit the Ricochet-Mustafa Ali story WWE abruptly dropped on Raw when RETRIBUTION was still a thing.
- When Swerve said “we wouldn’t allow you to run our bath water” and Sami Zayn responded “what do you mean” I almost lost it. I didn’t expect a Hit Row/Zayn collaboration to be so entertaining but I’m not even sure why I would feel that way. In hindsight, it was always going to be fun. Having said all that, it’s too bad they did nothing to explain B-Fab’s absence.
- I wish I had something more to say about Madcap Moss & Happy Corbin vs. The Viking Raiders. The dad joke bits are entertaining enough, and the barbs at opponents leading to matches works well enough too. There just isn’t much substance to it beyond that.
This was a pretty damn good show.