What a week to be a wrestling fan. Weeks like these really remind me why I’ve loved this since the late 80s and why I still love it today. It has been hit after hit from companies across the board. From AEW’s Double or Nothing to a top-drawer episode of NXT and a must-see Iron Man match on Impact, there really has been something for everyone. It’s a real pleasure to see so many successes and so many options for us fans to delve into. Of course, the flip side was the sad news about the WWE releases so we know we won’t be finding out any more about the Big E and Aleister Black feud this week on SmackDown, but we do have a tag title match to look forward to with The Usos challenging The Mysterios. Let’s get straight to the action and see if Roman’s having a good week.
SmackDown Tag Team Championships – The Mysterios (c) vs The Usos
We opened with a familiar opening promo from Roman Reigns in the ring, demanding that Jimmy and Jey bring back the gold and don’t humiliate the family. As if the pressures of a tag title shot aren’t bad enough by themselves, both men have to deal with the fact that Roman is probably going to beat their asses down if they don’t win. Bit harsh really. Thankfully this battle of bloodlines was a great way to open SmackDown this week, although Roman was looking on with that disapproving face of his. That rarely changes these days. The Usos have a lot more experience in-ring compared to The Mysterios as a team but you can’t argue against that natural father and son bond and sixth sense between the two.
Rey and Dominik have been on a roll as of late, overcoming all the odds to win the titles and keep them, but The Usos are on another level of intensity and came at them with everything they had. Not quite Tribal Chief levels of intensity but getting there for sure. A competitive match worthy of the titles where both teams looked like they could walk away with the belts but we all knew it wouldn’t end in a simple way didn’t we? I was expecting Roman to get involved but, instead, Dominik did a roll-up on Jimmy and got the 1-2-3 despite Uso getting his shoulder up at 2 out of the visibility of the ref. We saw it. The commentary team saw it. And unfortunately, Roman Reigns saw it too, and that’s a problem for all involved.
Burn The Interview Down
There’s not a lot to say about Seth Rollins’ interview with Kayla Braxton this week because… well, he didn’t really say anything either. There he was, sitting there looking as fantastic as always, but he did not appreciate Kayla’s line of questioning one bit. He doesn’t want to explain to anyone why he attacked Cesaro. He doesn’t want to answer stupid questions. He just wants to look good in his snazzy suits and be happy. Why won’t anyone just let him be?
Liv Morgan vs Carmella
I’m a big fan of Carmella’s entrance. In terms of ones that fit characters perfectly, hers is definitely up there. And this week she gets to face the last standing member of the Riott Squad in Liv Morgan. Damn she must be on edge. It was a shock to everyone to see Ruby let go considering how talented she was but she’ll thrive wherever she ends up. I remember seeing her in a number of promotions before and I’m sure it won’t be long until we’re watching her again. But now it’s down to Liv and Liv alone to try and make a success of her WWE career and she’ll either sink or swim. Time will tell.
Carmella is on a similar story of trying to climb that ladder again. She’s had far more success than Morgan but she wants more of it rather than keep getting forgotten about and having to sit on the side and watch others get opportunities. She feels more focused now than in a long time and it shows in the ring. The self-proclaimed ‘Most Beautiful Woman In All Of WWE’ really took it to Liv this week who probably found it hard to focus. It wasn’t all one-sided as Morgan did get some decent offence in but Carmella found an opportune moment to lock in the Code Of Silence and made Liv tap out for another important win. She’s starting to get the momentum she’s desperately needed but Liv Morgan is really going to have to scratch and claw for survival in the upcoming weeks.
A Laughable Challenge
I love how much confidence oozes out of Bianca Belair every time she comes to the ring. She just has ‘it’ completely and she knows who she is and who she wants to be and wants to be a strong role model for everyone out there. Sure she’s a bit cocky and a bit sassy but I’m here for the attitude. I’m not sure if I’m here for a continuous feud with Bayley though. That’s nothing against Bayley but I’d love to see something a bit new, but that gets less likely by the day if these releases keep happening. Knowing my luck I’ll end up with Belair vs Tamina for my troubles and that’s not something anyone needs to see.
Not too much to talk about with Bianca this week. Just a very simple in-ring promo challenging Bayley to a match at Hell in a Cell, and Bayley appearing on the giant screen and then on every single ThunderDome screen cackling her head off. Very strange and totally unnecessary and I’m pretty sure they could’ve done this in a far better way. I would’ve preferred Bayley coming out and ripping Michael Cole to shreds. That’s something I’ll never get bored of.
Shinsuke NakamurAAAAAAA (with Rick BOOGS) vs King Corbin (without crown)
As mad as I want to be about these rematches after rematches all over the place, I honestly lose all my rage as soon as Rick BOOGS comes out as any anger is replaced by pure joy. I’m nearly as happy as Pat McAfee is – not quite, but very nearly. I totally appreciate the enthusiasm. I need WWE to come back over here, bring SmackDown and Rick Boogs to me, and let me rock out in a full crowd to Nakamura’s theme. That’s what I need in my life more than anything. So I’ll allow yet another rematch over a crown to take place for now. I’m sure we’ll get it again next week.
Do we care what happened? Probably not. They hit each other a few times. Boogs got hit at some point. Corbin got distracted and it looked like Nakamura would take advantage but, instead, the official King rolled him up and won this week. More importantly, he managed to grab his crown again but didn’t manage to get away as Boogs grabbed his leg and Shin whacked Corbin and stole his crown again. Phew. I was worried there for a second but I should’ve known Rick Boogs wouldn’t let the side down. What a talent.
Intercontinental Championship – Apollo Crews (c) vs Kevin Owens
As noted last week, Apollo’s Commander was banned from ringside so it’s about time Kevin Owens got a fair shot at his opponent and claiming the title. Only that definitely didn’t happen this week as Azeez attacked KO backstage before the match had even started. What a sneaky, sneaky man but who’s going to argue with anyone that tall? Not me. He can do whatever the hell he likes really. I mean it technically wasn’t against the rules as such but you do have to worry about the number of times people seem to get attacked backstage. Their security is so poor I’m surprised they haven’t been released yet. Or maybe they have and that’s the problem.
Owens made a valiant effort still making it to the ring for his title match but he was always a few steps behind Crews who was ridiculously happy at the advantage he had. As we all know, Kevin can take a tonne of punishment so he lasted a lot longer against Crews than most people would have, but the pre-match damage was just too much to take. Eventually, he just couldn’t hang on anymore with Apollo hitting a Death Valley Driver on the ring apron before picking up the win between the ropes. And if that wasn’t enough, Sami Zayn then ran out to rub salt in the wound by hitting a Helluva Kick on Owens in the corner. He blamed Karma which was a bit cheeky unless he meant Kharma but she’s not been around for like 9 years now. Could we get Zayn vs Owens in a Hell in a Cell match? I doubt it but I can’t help but get excited at the idea.
SmackDown Tag Team Championships Rematch – The Mysterios (c) vs The Usos
Oh so when I complained about too many rematches from one week to the next, what they thought I meant was that I wanted rematches in the same night? Cool. To be fair this made total sense from a storyline perspective so I’ll allow it. Jimmy and Jey were livid at the bad call, as was Roman who suggested they fixed it that night, so they convinced Adam Pearce and Sonya Deville to give them a rematch in the main event. The Mysterios were about to leave but management caught them and got them ready in time. Both teams were tired but willing to fight for what they consider to be one of the most important prizes in the company and there’s a little respect there between the teams even if they don’t want to show it too much.
You know who doesn’t have any respect? Roman Reigns. Just as the match was getting going, he decided he’d had enough of watching on with his cousins potentially losing, so he just ran in and delivered a Superman Punch on behalf of his family and caused a DQ which meant the Mysterios retained their championships. I bet they almost wish they hadn’t as they ended up on the bad end of a beatdown from Roman involving steel steps and stiff elbows and choking out Dominik. It was brutal with The Usos looking on all concerned and Jimmy even trying to step in at one point saying it didn’t need to be like that. In fact, he walked away in disgust and encouraged Jey to do the same but he didn’t. Instead, he stood in fear alongside Roman to end the show. Is the family finally falling apart? I guess we’ll see next week.
The best of SmackDown
- Roman Reigns – no one is more intense than this man
- Rick Boogs – not only a great singer and musician but also very useful
- Carmella – another win just when she needed it
- Tamina – she wasn’t there
The worst of SmackDown
- Rematches – let’s calm down on them, please
- Seth Rollins – didn’t give us much this week apart from the suit
- Liv Morgan – not convincing anyone to keep her contract going
- Apollo Crews – what a cheat
- Roman Reigns – he’s amazing but he did ruin a potentially great match so he gets put here too
- Street Profits – got attacked backstage by Otis – come on guys, we want more smoke
I actually thought this was another solid effort all-around. I like that the tag titles are involved in a main-event storyline rather than just floating around doing something meaningless. Hopefully, the Reigns family story will elevate everyone involved. I’d love to see a proper Usos and Mysterios match at some point though but I guess that all depends on what decisions Jey makes going forward. He certainly has a lot to think about – stick with his brother or stick with the man who got him into the main event scene? Who knows what he’ll decide. Oh and I miss Big E. I do wonder what they’ll do with him next now Black is gone. Is he ready to step up to Roman?
All images and videos courtesy of WWE