Welcome back, everyone! We’re celebrating D-Generation X this week, so please be on your worst behavior. Normally this is where I tell you Claire is doing her thing on the blog but it’s Sean today. He’s no Claire but he’s pretty damn good. Also? I wish Shawn Michaels didn’t age. Sigh. Just makes me feel old.
Anyway, let’s talk Raw!
Only Built 4 Cuban Linx...
The Bloodline is a legit crime family and I love it. Roman Reigns’ whole thing is a mob boss, which is a secret to no one. But the fantastic opening segment this week with the Bloodline, with a later follow-up, crystalized how much this two-year story owes to mob movies and mob history. And the person who puts it all over the top is Sami Zayn.
Every mob movie has a mediator character. The cat who makes peace when the other members are at war with each other. More importantly, this person has the ear of the Capo dei capi. They’re the Boss of all bosses’ most trusted soldier. Sami, in very short time, is that person for Reigns. Because they’re both incredible at their respective roles, they bring the best out of each other. Sami enables Roman to show the Tribal Chief’s lighter side, while Roman gives Sami permission to be more than just comic relief. This week, Sami did what very few people do: He interrupted Reigns mid-speech.
Before Roman got to his beef with Jey Uso, Sami reminded the champ that he made Jey Uso a Sami Zayn problem. And with that in mind, he wanted a chance to talk to handle Jey. Reigns flashed that look that makes everyone afraid of him, stepped to Sami, and smiled. Because Sami is 1000 percent correct. Sami took center stage and made points about everyone in the Bloodline, including Jey, that which Roman agreed. Before Sami got to his ultimate point about Jey and his future in the Bloodline, Matthew Riddle showed his face. Riddle challenged Roman to a rematch. Reigns said nah. Riddle challenged any member of the Bloodline and Jey nominated Sami, because of course he did. Sami accepted.
Later on, Reigns gave Jeu explicit orders to make sure his honorary Uce gets the victory. Which sounds good and all but during the actual match, Sami told Jey he didn’t need the help.
This is the part of the movie where one family member, hellbent on proving the most trusted soldier isn’t trustworthy, sows discord by putting the boss’ ire squarely on that trusted soldier. I get it. I watch a lot of mob flicks and documentaries.
For a while, Sami handled Riddle. But then the match spilled to the outside and Sami, expecting some Uso help from Jimmy & Jey, received none. Riddle took advantage of the free shots on Riddle while the tag champs watched. Jimmy, Sami’s friend, wanted to intervene but Jey held him back. When Riddle pinned Sami and walked out of Brooklyn with the win, Jey told Jimmy not to help Sami up to his feet. According to Jey, Sami said he’s got it so just let him get it.
To paraphrase the New Day, Jey’s Daddy told him one thing and his Step Daddy told him another thing. So rather than get caught in the middle, he put them against each other with the excuse that he was just following orders.
This story rocks, and SmackDown is must-see this week.
Where were you in 1997? I was an 11-year old idolizing Shawn Michaels, meaning I was feeling myself way too much and doing my best to copy D-Generation X shenanigans without getting caught. DX celebrated an anniversary this week and it was not only self-aware and succinct, but it was...classy? They shouted out Chyna and Billy Gunn elegantly while basking in the crowd’s adulation. Whoever came up with the line about Billy “doing something with office furniture” is a genius.
That’s it. No analysis, no criticisms. Just taking this space to say it was a nice nostalgic moment that didn’t overstay its welcome. Oh and we got that hilarious moment at the beginning of Raw. As long as I live, I apparently will never grow up because that made me chuckle nonsensically.
The Beat Goes On...
I’m shocked, shocked I tell you. I did not predict Johnny Gargano getting a clean W over Austin Theory this week. Not only that, but Theory didn’t even attack him when the match ended. While I know Theory has that briefcase so, in theory—pun intended—an L doesn’t matter. But, it kinda does matter if the ultimate goal is him getting a championship around his waist. Then again, does anyone believe Austin Theory is beating Roman Reigns? I don’t believe he’s beating him in a thumb wrestling match, much less a pro wrestling match. But I digress.
This was a solid match with a nice story of the teacher fighting the student. The student believed he surpassed the teacher, even locking Gargano in the Gargano Escape. One really dope segment saw both men go for a super kick but Theory was just a bit quicker, which also tells a story. Ultimately, Johnny Wrestling walked out victorious because while Theory might be quicker and stronger, he’s still not smarter. Johnny caught the young man slipping on three occasions when Theory literally rushed in with a full head of steam.
This is a big victory for Johnny Wrestling, but still makes me wonder what the ultimate plan is for young Austin.
Corey Graves should never, ever, ever say “nahmean” again in his life.
Anyway, after Rey Mysterio dispatched Chad Gable with the 619, Dominik and Rhea continued making his life a living hell. Dom antagonized his father physically this time, pushing, shoving, and even slapping his dad while begging for a retaliation. When the rest of the Judgment Day showed up and it looked like Rey might finally let off some steam through beating up Finn Balor, Dom tackled his old man into next Monday, attacking him from behind, and hitting him with a 619 of his own.
This is still compelling stuff, made better through Rey’s tears while fighting back every physical urge he has. And every single thing Dom does or says just makes the crowd hate him even more. Once Brooklyn saw Rey crying, the boos turned up several notches.
Rey is a glass case of emotion and we all feel it.
Look, if they’re going to call it “The OC” then I’m making references to the early 2000s Fox show I never watched but kids in my college dorm did.
Let’s not bury the lede here: Gallows & Anderson are back, and they have AJ Styles’ back. Finn issued an ultimatum to Styles, Styles came out and suckered Finn into thinking he joined the Judgment Day, quoted New Jack City, and then out came the Good Brothers. The Judgment Day didn’t know what to do with all of that heat, so they scampered like roaches when the lights come on and chose to fight another day.
This is a great look for AJ, while giving us a rich story as Finn’s new family faces his old family. It’s time to play the feud!
OH! Finn Balor? Never say “too legit to quit” ever again. Thanks.
Bayley was hot. After losing at Extreme Rules, the Role Model took her anger out on Candice LeRae this week. Well, she tried. Candice, working on a bum knee, caught Bayley off guard and got the W. Solid match that needed more time. But hey, what can you do about that besides complain?
The most intriguing part was Bianca Belair coming to Candice’s aid after Dakota Kai & IYO SKY participated in the standard heel beat down. But even Bianca wasn’t enough, as she and Candice were no match for Damage CNTRL. Apparently Asuka & Alexa Bliss are no longer a part of this? If not, I wonder who helps Belair & LeRae? Possibly a boss? Just saying, it makes a whole lot of sense.
Seth Rollins is your new United States champ! It wasn’t much of a match to speak of as far as “quality” goes. And you can thank Brock Lesnar for that. The Beast showed up in Brooklyn with a message for Lashley. Not so much in words but in violence, as he F’5’d the now former champ several times and locked his arm into the Kimura Lock.
Bobby, clearly not ready for competition anymore, let Seth goad him into a match. Seth called Bobby a bad solider and disgrace to the country, etc. So, yeah, Bobby fought valiantly but the damage was done.
IF you’re taking the title off of Lashley and setting him up for a match with Lesnar at Crown Jewel, this is probably the best way to do that. Although, Brock destroying another Black champion with the ease of an adult tossing a balloon into the air is definitely a thing WWE needs to acknowledge. Even if it’s not intentionally racist, appearances are everything.
This isn’t my first complaint about the Dexter Lumis and Miz thing, but this is the latest. Miz’s birthday celebration, where Maryse gifted him a bat and two giant balls—how clever—just didn’t work for me. Throw in Dexter Lumis’ “surprise” reveal, Maryse kinda but not really getting a face full of cake, and yeah, no bueno.
The good news is we’re finally getting some resolution. Next week, Miz wrestles Dexter. If Miz wins, Dexter is gone. But if Miz loses, Dexter gets a WWE contract. So, yeah, expect Miz to lose.
Shoutout to Road Dogg for hearing my complaints from my couch and answering them in real time. Priases be to D-Generation X, answering all of my questions since ‘97.
Yup, Omos still squashing cats.
Raw started strong and ended strong. The first two hours flew by but the third hour dragged a bit. I know it’s not happening but a two-hour Raw sounds like a hell of a show. As it stands, this was a good one, not a great one. Actually, it was a really good one.
That’s my grade and I’m sticking to it. Your turn.