After a great PPV lets see if the Raw brand keeps it going... I'm watching the short Hulu version this week and assuming most of what I need to see is included in it.
The show begins with Big Cass getting some promo time. He teases the crowd with old catchphrases as the crowd chants "Casshole" Me thinks they might rebrand him to avoid such cat calls? Also we have Big Show, Big E, Big Cass, we get it... They are big. We can see em... just give him a name. Colin Cassidy works. Anyway eventually the Big Show comes out to confront Cass. No shock this feud was coming. Show has been helping young bigs get over for years.
Next the Hardys come out and tease people of their "broken" characters. But they claim they aren't done yet and quque Anderson and Gallows and my God I must say I forgot they were on Raw for a second. They challenge the Hardys and then win. Then as they leave, out comes The Revival to pick the bones and beat up the Hardys. Which could lead to the feud I wanted to see. And it seems the Hardys might be heading towards working with the other young teams to get them over which is great, but who does that leave for the Tag Title picture?
Next was The Mizzies. Which was going to be a fluff filler piece but Miz is always entertaining. The Miztourage got awards and even Maryse and then Miz offers up the best man in the WWE and opens the envelope and jokes that it says Dean Ambrose but it actually says Miz. The second he jokes that, I cringe at the thought of this rivalry continuing... but eventually as Dean comes out and gets beat-down out comes Seth Rollins to the rescue which is a fun idea and then we are told the main event for the night is Bray vs. Seth in a rematch from last night and again I cringe...
Sasha and Bailey up next in tag action vs. Alexa and Nia. A nice time filling match for the ladies with Bailey scoring the pinfall. I'm guessing these 4 end up in a 4-way at Summerslam for the title. I'm thinking it might be Nia's time... and winning in a 4-way would mean she doesn't have to take it directly off Alexa.
Next Kurt Angle hits the ring and introduces Brock Lesnar. Soon out comes Roman Reigns, not sure how he's allowed to walk around without being arrested... but anyway... he challenges Brock for Summerlsam. Brock laughs and says no way. Then out comes Samoa Joe and the three men throws verbal jabs at one-another. Eventually Angle declares that Reigns (who lost his match last night and tried to kill a guy) will face Samoa Joe for the shot at Summerslam next week. This won't end well...
At the conclusion of that spot Corey Graves has to take a phone call and leaves the desk. Later out back Kurt is confronted by Graves and he makes reference to something that could change his life and might be embarrassing and career-destroying. Later he takes a phone call inviting someone to Raw next week and then says "I love you" before he hangs up the phone. Many speculate that this is either a reboot of the old Stephanie-Triple H-Angle thing or as seen in the Angle 24 special, Ms. Dixie Carter. Either way I have to say I love Kurt Angle, he's in my top 5 all-time, but his serious-role acting chops are not that nice. He's much more equipped for the goofy stuff. Either way they have been working on this sidebar thing for awhile and it will be fun to see where it goes.
Seth vs. Bray is up last and I didn't watch most of it. But they did have Bray win again by capitalize by using the eye attack. Glad they didn't just have Bray swap wins and losses again... as Bray exits Miz and the Miztourage hit the ring to attack Seth and eventually Dean comes out to chase them off with use of a chair. End show.
Before the show begins they show footage of AJ Styles beating Kevin Owens for the US Title at a house show at MSG. Then the show begins with AJ coming to the ring. He talks about bringing back the US Open Challenge and out comes John Cena. I was hoping for Owens or Gable but Cena comes down and the two rap for a bit before Kevin Owens comes out to retort. And Man what a blessing it is anytime we get to hear this guy cut a promo. If the rumors are true and he is hurt lets hope they somehow still wedge in some KO time on a mic. He tells John Cena flat out "Nobody missed you!" truer words have never been spoken. Cena responds by calling KO the Michelin man... really John? Really? Then Rusev storms in and eventually the ring clears and this sets up your main event. What? A tag team main event on SD? No way!
Next up is Tye Dillenger vs. Jinder Mahal. I like this rub for The Perfect Ten who has gotten another push of sorts lately after being back-burnered for awhile. Still the fact that Jinder's matches aren't main events even on SD should raise more red flags than the nation of China. Jinder ain't legit, but in this case he's good enough to beat Tye. And of course when I say "in this case" I mean because they made him the champ for now because a few months ago Tye was beating Jinder on house shows and dark matches.
Next up Xavier Woods vs. an Uso (not sure which one and who cares?) All other members of the teams are kicked out by the ref before the match starts and amazingly, the often referenced to as the weakest link of the New Day, Xavier wins.
Next the women's announcement for Battleground. A 5-way match for a shot at Naomi at Summerslam I think they said. And the 5 include Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Tamina, Natayla, and... Lana? What just because Carmella has the briefcase means she can't earn other title matches? I call foul. Still feel like after the 30 days is up for Ellsworth that he will make an impact upon his return.
Shinsuke vs. Corbin up next but the match never starts as the two battle outside the ring before anything starts and officials come out from the back to pull them apart. I guess I'm ok with this. Might as well do this at Battleground.
Tag match for the ladies next with Becky and Charlotte taking on Nattie and Tamina. Tamina scores the win here. And I start to realize that they have brought Charlotte to Smackdown and essentially buried her. They made her work face, she's had one title shot that got ruined, and although she's in the mix like all the other ladies they haven't given her nearly the dominant run that Raw did. Frankly I like it better because I'm just not a Charlotte fan. She's ok but there are other chicks I'd rather see wrestle. In fact aside from Tamina and Lana I'd rather see any of the other SD Divas battle it out. Throw in Alexa, Sasha, Bailey, Emma, and crap even Nia right now... Charlotte barely makes my top ten current ladies in WWE.
Next we see Maria backstage looking for Sami Zayn. Chad Gable tells her no dice but after a commercial we see Zayn approaching Maria and Mike to see what they want. They want an apology and Sami is perturbed they even ask for another one. Honestly I've never seen a Canadian not willing to say sorry but I digress. Basically it leads to Mike smashing a vase over Sami as the happy couple walks away.
Next up its a Walker Texas Rangers themed version of the Fashion Police/ Fashion Files. Breezango riding up on a stick horse is God Damn genius. They question Zack Ryder about their office trashing not sure where this is leading but I love the ride. Then Mojo comes up and gets in on the convo. The Zack/Mojo light heat continues... Then Ghost Aliens! My God just go watch the clip. It's funny.
Then its main event time. Cena and AJ win. I'm not boring you with a breakdown of the match it wasn't that interesting. Move on with your life.
The show starts with the entrance of Aleister Black. He's become one of my favorites on the show. His entrance, his character, and hot damn his strikes are awesome. Then his opponent is announced and well shoot here comes some guy named Fish. They make it sound like I should know who he is from other wrestling promotions but he doesn't look or sound familiar. He outs on a very good match with Black though before succumbing to the Black Mass kick which in this match looks so real you doubt that wrestling is fake for a bit.
Side note: As I wrote that last paragraph I thought about Shinsuke in his time in NXT and realized that Black is on a similar path. Someday I will see Alesister Black in tag matches on Smackdown and I'll hate it. It's not his character. I miss the days when some guys just didn't do tag matches. Current WWE almost requires it. I'd like to see more characters that shun the tag match. I feel like Black would be solid in that role. Just food for thought. Tag matches that aren't part o a tag division should only be for house shows, and dark match main events in my opinion. Then once every 2 or 3 months if you made that your SD main event it might feel special.
Next up was a qualifier for the Mae Young Classic. Two unknowns in Vanessa Borne and Jayme Hachey. Vanessa was very sexy and had a Layla-like look and it's fitting that like Layla Vanessa was once an NBA Dance team member. (Vanessa- Suns / Layla- Heat) So was Naomi aka Trinity BTW and I was a big fan of her work when she was a dancer for my ORRRRlandOOOO Magic! Google it! Anyway the match between the two was as awkward as Jayme looked in her ring gear. Not sure this match needed to air. They showed highlights last week of a qualifer... why not to the same with this one?
Next a video of Drew McIntyre being attacked by Sanity outside somewhere. It leads to a convo between the champ Bobby Roode and William Regal discussing who should play the Bobby Roode lottery next. Regal decides that the undefeated Killian Dain will meet the undefeated Drew McIntyre next week for the shot at Roode at the next NXT PPV which will be the NXT Brooklyn show during Summerslam weekend which has quickly become NXT's Wrestlemania.
Next Johnny Gargano returns and hits the ring to discuss the DIY split. He says he's ready to resume being Johnny Wrestling, and that reminds me what I wrote when the two first split... I see a nice run for Johnny coming to a screeching halt when Ciampa returns.
Lastly the Tag Titles are up for grabs as the Authors of Pain defend against Heavy Machinery. Not the usual buzz around a Tag Team TItle defense that we are used to. And if I can sidebar a bit here they left the cupboards bare when they took American Alpha and The Revival and split up DIY. Sure the AOP meshed well with those teams but who hasn't. NXT needs to push some more tag team wrestling because they have a ton of talent down there going nowhere. Look at Tucker Knight. He has toiled in NXT for a long while and this Heavy Machinery gig is his best shot yet. Otis has some real charisma and is a fun watch but these guys aren't as engaging as past tag teams have been in NXT. The match has some fun spots but eventually the AOP gets the upper hand and the win. A decent match but compared to all other NXT Tag Title defenses this is among the worst. And that speaks more for the greatness of past ones than the poorness of this one.
After the match Dain, Wolfe, and Nikki Cross are on the entrance ramp taunting the AOP by having pages fall from the celing? Yeah pages from the Authors of Pain's book... oh boy what a stretch... Anyway how many feuds they putting Dain in for one night? Damn. Anyway you slice it the fact that Sanity (any version of the 3 men), Heavy Machinery, and the AOP are the top tag teams right now? That tells you something about the state of the tag division. I've heard about Tino Sabatelli and that other guy. Where they at? What about teaming up No Way Jose with someone? They should do something with those Ealy Brothers. Those dudes are monsters!
Lastly I'll mention that 205 Live produced a decent show. Highlights were Tazawa and Neville continuing their feud. Gulak challenging Ali in a fun segment. Swan beating a guy named Conners with TJP watching and then TJP saying he can beat that guy way quicker which he then does. Gallaher and Kendrick are still fighting in case you wondered. Then the main event between Noam Dar and Cedric Alexander in an I Quit match that featured some cool spots earning it a spot in the 3 count as we take it home with the best 3 matches of the week.
3. Noam Dar vs. Cedric Alexander in an I Quit Match. Fun match. Cool spots you haven't seen. Nice feature match for two guys that work their tail off every week. Me thinks Neville has another challenger waiting when he's done with Tozawa.
2. Seriously go watch the Breezango segment it was the most entertaining thing on Raw or Smackdown this week. Lots of segments which ain't all bad but matches and good match quality were at a minimum
1. Black vs. Fish from NXT. It's worth a watch. Pretty sure where Aleister is heading and after that showing maybe we'll look back fondly on the debut of Mr. Fish. It's a solid match and easily the best of the week!
Now hit my music. I'm off like the compressors at a rink that is closed for the summer (Rink Nerd Alert!)