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Monday Night Raw Rants: The Club Reunites Edition

The Nerd Hub celebrates as The Club reunites this week with our WWE Monday Night Raw rants. We also celebrate the return of anything substantial actually happening on the show for the first time in weeks. Sure, Ricochet held off another challenge from AJ Styles in a repeat main event from last week. However, the big news emanating from American Airlines Center in Dallas involved Big Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson and Styles turning heel together.

 

HEADLINE NEWS: AJ TURNS HEEL, REUNITES THE CLUB

WWE threw all kinds of swerves at us in the United States Championship title match main event. First, Styles appeared to have won the belt in the early going. He socked Ricochet with the Phenomenal Forearm and pinned his shoulders for the three count. However, replay and official John Cone informed the other referee that the champ got his foot under the rope. Therefore, the title change got negated and the two wrestled on.

What ensued became a seesaw affair between Ricochet and Styles. Ultimately, Ricochet came out on top as the athleticism of both took center stage during the match.

Enter The Club.

Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson came to ringside, where they gave mock applause to the defending champ. Styles positioned himself in between his old running buddies and The One and Only, seemingly in a protective stance. However, Styles then suckerpunched Ricochet out of nowhere and announced his heel turn. Gallows and Anderson joined in for good, old-fashioned beatdown from The Club.

Don’t look now, but perhaps WWE may actually book guys we like being heel to challenge their babyfaces. You know, NOT Shane McMahon. The Club can band together and put fear into Universal Champ Seth Rollins, WWE Champ Kofi Kingston, Roman Reigns, Ricochet or Intercontinental Champ Finn Balor. Literally, any champion (besides Drake Maverick) WWE chooses to throw these guys up against would create a story likely to engage viewers.

 

BEST OF THE REST: BRAUN STROWMAN DESTROYING THINGS

WWE finally decided to end the weird contests between two of its biggest monsters. It let them do what monsters do at the box office each summer – destroy things. Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley ended the silly thread of arm wrestling and tug of war with a Falls Count Anywhere match.

The Almighty took it to The Monster Among Men a good portion of the match. Lashley whipped Strowman into the ring post before spearing him through the timekeeper’s area. Then, they took the action to the crowd. However, the assault on Braun continued as Bob smacked him liberally with a steel chair.

The babyface monster battled back with a huge running shoulder tackle. Then, he lobbed Bob onto the stage where he commenced to spearing him through a video board. It drew sparks from the board and an expletive from Corey Graves at the announce table. It also got a no-contest result as medics had to tend to both men.

You can tell Paul Heyman runs the show now on Monday Night Raw. This show smacked of Heyman if ever any show smacked of the “Paulrus” as The King calls him. Nobody knows how to cater to our inner big kid with violence and destruction more than Heyman.  The only criticism of this extension of the Strowman-Lashley feud I have is that it came out of left field. These guys went from tugging rope to blowing up sets in a week. However, that’s a huge improvement, so I’m not complaining.

 

BIG WINNER: MIKE & MARIA KANELLIS

When I previewed Stomping Grounds, I posited that WWE’s new contract extensions with Mike and Maria Kanellis likely meant an impending Cruiserweight Championship run. Little did I know, the couple would go from a near total non-factor on TV to a feud with the Universal Champ and Raw Women’s Champ.

Welcome back to the big leagues, Mike and Maria Kanellis. They set up a mixed tag match with Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch backstage. So, those of you cringing at WWE exploiting the relationship between Rollins and Lynch for entertainment purposes likely didn’t enjoy this. However, it certainly created an unexpected and entertaining twist to the storylines of the champs. They’ve both had unending rivalries with Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans lately.

However, the drama just began to unfold at the start of the match. When Becky Lynch tagged into the match, Maria dropped to the floor and grabbed a mic. She began berating her husband, Mike. She also claimed she couldn’t compete due to being pregnant. As Maria continued to lambaste her man, The Man made Mike tap out to the Dis-Arm-Her in the ring.

This led Maria to continue her rantings, saying that Becky Lynch represented the only man in the ring. Maria added that she’d ask Becky to impregnate her next time. Mike got left speechless as she walked off.

In addition to the Strowman-Lashley destruction content, this proved to me Heyman took charge this week. He’s stated in the past that Maria represents one of the most creative people with whom he’s ever worked. Apparently, he’s so confident in her abilities he didn’t care too much about pulling them from nowhere into this confrontation. Yet, many people tired of endless Lynch-Lacey Evans and Rollins-Baron Corbin content. So, this gave us something different for a change.

 

BIG LOSER: THE UNDERTAKER

Consider it part of my Shane McMahon fatigue. The Undertaker delivered a promo along with Shane-O-Mac and Drew McIntyre. The Dead Man vowed Shane and the Scottish Psychopath would rest in peace at Extreme Rules. In addition, Undertaker brought up their WrestleMania 32 tussle and claimed “The Best in the World” amounts to nothing but another lost soul among many.

Don’t get me wrong. The Undertaker is what he is at this point. He’s a nostalgia act trotted out to grab attention every now and again. However, this promo represents a cut-and-paste of any Undertaker promo you’ve seen for decades. It gets the job done, but it’s hardly unexpected or exciting.

 

HIGH FIVE

Street Profits – The NXT Tag Team Champs appeared on Raw in a meeting with Heyman. As always, Montez Ford and Angelo Dawkins gave an energetic hype job of their impending main roster debut. These guys bring an electricity and energy to matches in a way that’s kind of lacking in the tag division right now. They will instantly help either show they appear on.

24/7 Championship Race – Drake Maverick outsmarted R-Truth to win his coveted title back as he also tries to save his storyline marriage. The champ came out as part of No Way Jose’s Conga Line. Truth couldn’t resist rubbing it in while Maverick sat ringside with his wife who told him he’d have to choose between her or the title. However, the 205 Live GM got the last laugh by smashing Truth with a briefcase and pinning him during some of the last moments of Raw.

Carmella – The former SmackDown Women’s Champion rarely gets to wrestle on the Blue Brand these days. However, she successfully defeated SmackDown Women’s title contender Alexa Bliss on Raw. Mella did wind up losing to Nikki Cross in an ensuing match. Yet, the Staten Island Princess had to get excited about being involved in something other than being R-Truth’s sidekick.

The Viking Raiders – Erik and Ivar teamed up with Samoa Joe to hand The New Day a beating. Don’t look now, but the former NXT Champs just keep winning. So, they can  make a big impact on Raw going forward. They just need the time and commitment from the WWE creative team to do it.

Cesaro – The Swiss Cyborg ruthlessly beat WWE sparring dummy No Way Jose to a no contest. The character reboot continues for the former member of The Bar. He’s a no-nonsense, physical villain out to smack the teeth out of any babyface. It’s the type of role he’s perfectly suited to pull off. He could easily work into any feuds involving faces the WWE wants to help get over.

 

LOW FIVE

Lacey Evans/Baron Corbin – The Lady of the WWE needed to play the numbers game to beat Natalya. Yes, the same Natalya who has virtually gone into the WWE Superstar Protection Program since Ronda Rousey jetted. Kudos for getting Evans involved with someone other than Lynch. However, she lacks teeth as a credible championship contender. This booking doesn’t exactly convince anyone she’s got the goods to take down The Man.

The Miz – The A-Lister defeated Elias in a Best-of-3 Falls match. He took advantage of The Walking Truth smashing his knee into the ring post with a decisive Figure Four. However, this feud just represents two guys whose career have stalled recently in the wake of Shane McMahon’s heel push. These guys turned in some of the best content for their shows in 2018. Now, they’re involved in a pedestrian, mid-card beef.

Nikki Cross – The WWE seemed to skip ahead in their to-this-point, well-paced storyline with Cross and Bliss. Carmella calling out just how reliant The Goddess is on Cross and then beating her gave us something fantastic. However, they should’ve cut the show for these three there. Instead, they gave us a rushed match to create doubt as to whether it should be Bliss or Cross facing Bayley at Extreme Rules. Sure, we knew we were headed there. However, this seemed like fast-tracking the story a bit too much.

Bray Wyatt – The Firefly Fun House segments grew to become one of the best things on Raw the past few months. So, we notice when Bray or The Fiend goes silent. Hopefully, this carries no significance in the plans for him.

The Revival/The Usos – Extreme Rules sits only a few weeks away, but the champs and their big rivals provided nothing further. Maybe WWE just wanted to give Street Profits time on the mic by themselves. However, their appearance possibly could’ve hit another level with involvement from either of these teams. In my opinion, even a staring match as they walk past each other could’ve generated some excitement.

 

RELATED: MONDAY NIGHT RAW RANTS: RICOCHET EDITION

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Laying the Smack Down: Kofi Sweeps Edition

Welcome to The Nerd Hub’s weekly smack talk about WWE SmackDown Live. Kofi Kingston finished his three-match sweep of Dolph Ziggler in the main event. Their best-of-3 falls match actually bested previous battles at both Super ShowDown and Stomping Grounds. However, the fans at Moda Center in Portland had little great content to watch prior to the main event. Let’s break down Kofi sweeps week and more.

 

HEADLINE NEWS: KOFI-ZIGGLER III AN INSTANT CLASSIC

SmackDown Live opened with an impassioned promo from the WWE Champion. He said he’s enjoyed the best height of his career over the past few months. However, Samoa Joe attempted to eat him alive on Monday Night Raw. Kofi said he wouldn’t take that lying down. That’s when Ziggler interrupted, refusing to allow anyone to leapfrog him for another shot at the WWE Championship. The #Heel revealed that he arranged a best-of-3 falls match with Kofi for the main event.

Ziggler dominated the early moments of the main event. A turning point came when The Showoff sat down on a Sunset Flip attempt and grabbed the rope for leverage. The referee caught him cheating and interrupted his count on the fall. As a result, Kofi got the opening he needed. He rolled up Dolph for fall #1.

Unfortunately, Ziggler got worked up into a frenzy and took his brutality up a notch after the first fall. Then, he devastated Kingston with a Zig Zag. The resilient champ nearly scored the decisive fall on another roll-up attempt. Yet, Ziggler escaped this time and hit a superkick to even the falls.

The closing sequence turned into a sprint of reversals, counters and roll-up attempts. However, Kofi closed things out with Trouble in Paradise for the victory. This one far exceeded either of the pay-per-view matches. So, Kofi put a fitting cap on the rivalry if it is indeed an end to their program.

 

BEST OF THE REST: NIKKI CROSS EARNS ALEXA BLISS REMATCH

Nikki Cross came out as a woman on a mission against SmackDown Women’s Champ Bayley. The desperation and determination of the Scot came across as she passionately fought for her friend’s rematch. Cross gained the early edge on her frenetic energy.

However, The Hugger worked her way back into the match and gained control with an armbar. Nikki rallied and hit a neckbreaker for a two count. Then, Cross and Bayley engaged in a number of roll-ups and counters. However, Nikki ended the seesaw struggle by shifting her weight to keep the champ’s shoulders pinned for the 1-2-3.

As a result, Cross earned The Goddess a rematch for the blue belt at Extreme Rules on July 14. Furthermore, Nikki winning the match and title shot for Bliss takes their story to the next stage. Cross wins the match and beats the champion, but the selfish Twisted Sister reaps the rewards because that’s so Alexa. These three continued to work well off each other.

 

BIG WINNER: SONYA DEVILLE/MANDY ROSE

The War Goddess attempted to retaliate after weeks of being bullied by Deville & Rose. However, Fire & Desire used the dreaded numbers game to come out on top like we knew they would.

Yet, Ember Moon brought the fire and fury early on. She took it to Deville with a series of dropkicks, pounding her around the squared circle. But Mandy Rose picked an opportune time to provide a distraction. Deville capitalized, shoving her into the ring post and stacking her up for a pinfall victory.

These three suffered from the lack of ring time devoted to them. However, the story they needed to present got over. First and foremost, it served to continue the ongoing beef between Moon and Rose. Most importantly, Deville picked up a win to continue building her credibility for the inevitable Fire & Desire split. In my opinion, WWE can build a legitimate main-event star out of Deville if they’re interested in doing so. She can pull off the heel personality well and contains a wide arsenal of ground-and-pound, MMA moves.

 

BIG LOSER: THE MIZ

Through no fault of his own, The A-Lister ended up the big loser on both Monday and Tuesday. This time, he fell to Elias in a best-of-3 falls match. The dreaded numbers game came into play at the end. “The Best in the World” Shane McMahon teamed up with Elias to put a hurting on Miz.

Shane-O-Mac sent a message to Roman Reigns with a spear. Then, Elias piled on with a top-rope elbow drop for the decisive fall. Adding insult, Shane then ascended the top rope and delivered his patented Coast-to-Coast.

Unfortunately, Miz remained McMahon’s personal torture instrument. He’s served as a punching bag for “The Best in the World” since WrestleMania 35. Not only can’t he beat his former tag team partner, he always gets served a humbling butt-kicking by McMahon and his minions. Fans continue to openly wonder why McMahon continues to ride the monstrous heel push at the expense of big-name Superstars each week.

HIGH FIVE

Shinsuka Nakamura/Finn Balor – Two of the greatest NXT Champions collided in a backstage segment. “The Artist” confronted the Intercontinental Champion, perhaps signaling an end to his tag team days with Rusev. Since Balor spent several weeks off TV, fans of the champ delighted in the teasing of a new storyline. However, the use of Nakamura with Balor seems puzzling considering things with Andrade didn’t feel completely settled.

New Day – We told you they would not skip a beat with that loss to Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. Xavier Woods broke up the LeBell Lock and combined with Big E to hit Midnight Hour on Daniel Bryan. They didn’t get much time to celebrate the non-title match victory over the SmackDown Tag Team Champs. The Pancakes & Unicorns Crew found themselves victims of an attack from KO and Zayn. However, Heavy Machinery came out to aid New Day. Then, the two babyface teams teamed up against the two heel teams.

Heavy Machinery – Otis and Tucker got an important thumbs after their Stomping Grounds appearance by making WWE TV. The segment felt a little clumsy. The most important plot point of the eight-man tag match seemed to be KO walking out on Zayn. With that being the case, Heavy Machinery against those two probably would’ve went off a little less wonky. Nonetheless, the Steaks & Weights boys still seem to figure prominently in WWE’s plans.

Elias – We’d love to see him no longer attached to Shane McMahon’s hip. However, he scored a victory over The Miz. This provided the one positive note to the continued devotion to Heel Shane’s destruction of The Miz.

Ember Moon – Sure, she got beat by the heel tandem of Rose and Deville. However, she broke through to get some ring time on WWE TV. Considering the sparse amount of time for women not named Becky Lynch, Lacey Evans, Alexa Bliss, Bayley and Nikki Cross lately, that’s a victory.

 

LOW FIVE

Aleister Black – Okay, it’s seriously time for WWE to pull the trigger on putting the former NXT Champ in the ring. We’re working on a solid month of promos talking about people coming through a door to challenge him. Look no further than Ricochet to see how Black has stagnated. His former tag partner just won the United States Championship at Stomping Grounds and wrestled AJ Styles in Raw’s main event. Meanwhile, Black gets reduced to edgy 60-90 second promos each week.

Charlotte Flair – Perhaps The Queen just asked for some vacation time. However, it seems a bit weird to not see her featured for weeks at a time on WWE TV. I know fans have raged about her frequent turns with the championship belts. Yet, the simple fact remains she’s one of the best performers in the company.

The IIconics – The women’s tag champs had some regular segments for weeks with Nikki Cross and Alexa Bliss that went well. However, they’re back to being purely backstage or non-entities. Here’s where the predictability of the WWE gets in the way of the product. It’s understandable if Billie Kay and Peyton Royce don’t always fit into the Raw or SmackDown storylines. Yet, wouldn’t that present the perfect opportunity to have them make a cameo on NXT?

Roman Reigns – Don’t get me wrong. The Big Dog remains a weekly presence on TV. I know the WWE Wild Card Era essentially made the brand split a moot point. However, I still think it’s a wrong that the “biggest acquisition” in SmackDown history makes fewer appearances on Tuesdays than Mondays.

Andrade – Flip the calendar back a month or so and we thought El Idolo might ride a rocket to the top. Now, he’s back to being left off TV for weeks at a time. It’s inconsistent handling of guys like this that causes fan pushback when matches seemingly fall out of the sky.

 

RELATED: MONDAY NIGHT RAW RANTS: RICOCHET EDITION

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The Good, The Bad and Rollynch Rules: Stomping Grounds Edition

Welcome to The Nerd Hub and our celebration of the champion couple Rollynch at WWE Stomping Grounds. Sure, Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch retained their titles. However, it’s the style with which they accomplished those championship feats which has the WWE Universe talking. So, let’s review what has everyone talking about from Sunday’s show at the Tacoma Dome.

 

HEADLINE NEWS: ROLLYNCH FOILS CORBIN, EVANS

Looorrrddd, Baron Corbin threw a curveball at us with his special guest referee. Lacey Evans appeared in a Universal Championship match angle after 6 months on the main roster. So, any fans hoping the Lady would fade away got a Woman’s Right to the chops with that booking. Yet, The Man made sure her man, Rollins, kept the Rollynch championship power couple intact at WWE Stomping Grounds.

Evans gave Corbin every advantage in the dirty ref playbook. The Sassy Southern Belle let The Lone Wolf strike Rollins with chair shots before calling for the bell. Then, she frustrated The Beastslayer with slow counts when he worked his way back into the match. Even when Rollins powerbombed Corbin through the announce table, Evans thwarted the champ by declaring its a “No Count Out” match. Corbin responded by whipping Rollins with a chair again. That’s when Evans let us all know the match also had changed to include a “No Disqualification” stipulation.

However, Lynch turned the tables on the heels. She exploded to the ring and leveled Evans with haymakers. In fact, she nearly nailed a Bexploder on Evans through a barricade. Fortunately for our champ, he got enough time to rally from an End of Days. Though Corbin attempted a second EOD, Rollins countered with a superkick and stomp for the victory.

Though some fans cringed at the idea of including a real life relationship in the story, a majority enjoyed Rollynch standing tall. Whether you enjoyed WWE shining a spotlight on their relationship, you have to credit the company for a swerve. Most fans made their mind up to hate Stomping Grounds before the show aired. Admittedly, it featured plenty of rematches. However, some of the surprises and victories by fan favorites provided a better ending than most expected.

In addition, WWE sent a message that Rollins, Lynch, Evans and Corbin figure prominently going forward. Some worried whether one or both members of Rollynch would drop a belt. Yet, they’re still on top. I’d also be surprised if we saw the last of the Evans-Lynch and Rollins-Corbin rivalries.

 

GOOD: GULAK BECOMES CRUISERWEIGHT CHAMPION

The Cruiserweights got banished back to the pre-show for Stomping Grounds. However, Drew Gulak, Akira Tozawa and defending champ Tony Nese impressed in their triple-threat match.

The match served as a big rollercoaster with near falls for each competitor. The deciding sequence began when The Premier Athlete tried to hit the “Running Nese” on Gulak. Unfortunately for Nese, Gulak countered with a Torture Rack. The heel then dropped Nese on the apron and Tozawa knocked the champ to the floor with a missile dropkick. As a result, Gulak got the opening he needed. He hit a Torture Rack Neckbreaker on Tozawa to become the new Cruiserweight Champion.

So, we got the result we expected with a title change. Gulak beat Tozawa so Nese can say he never really lost his title. Therefore, Gulak and Nese likely find themselves on a collision course for a grudge match at Extreme Rules.

 

BAD: EVANS UNDERWHELMS IN THE RING AGAIN

This rating falls solely on Evans’ shoulders. The booking went off perfectly. The Man absolutely deserved to retain. Obviously, WWE still feels bulllish on Evans, but her in-ring work simply screams she’s not ready yet for the title.

Astute viewers can see Lynch calling out spots for Evans the entire match. In addition, Evans clearly failed to get into position for moves a few times. With that being said, she’s still a highly entertaining character. The potential for her to rise to stardom remains. That’s why WWE continues to push her and will likely to continue to do so. However, they risk alienating potential fans of hers with a too-much-too-soon approach.

As for the match, Evans’ attempt to embarrass Lynch with the handkerchief led to her undoing again. The Man grabbed it and shoved it back into Evans’ mouth. The defending champ’s rally culminated in another Dis-Arm-Her submission victory. So, I know many hoped that successive submission victories at Money in the Bank and Stomping Grounds would end this feud. However, Evans’ inclusion in the business of Rollynch during the main event likely means it will continue.

 

GOOD: KO & ZAYN GET OVER ON NEW DAY

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn needed a win badly. They spent the past few months taking nothing but L’s against WWE Champ Kofi Kingston and New Day. So, this one got booked right as well.

Furthermore, the ring psychology of the match made all the sense in the world. The heels isolated and beat up on Xavier Woods. Meanwhile, they did just enough to fend off Big E to remain victorious. Even when Big E hit a thunderous spear to knock Zayn out of the ring, it played into the hands of the baddies. KO took advantage against Woods, hitting a Stunner for the victory.

Maintaining credibility for Owens and Zayn made a victory a necessity. Meanwhile, New Day suffers nothing from the loss. They will still get a roar from the crowd when they come out next with Kofi.

 

GOOD: RICOCHET WINS THE UNITED STATES TITLE

This provided the first surprise of the night for me. Don’t get me wrong. Ricochet deserves a huge push. However, WWE had me worried when they seemingly had him going nowhere with 50-50 booking against Cesaro. Eventually, he took two of three from the Swiss Cyborg. Yet, neither of those victories compare to his biggest main roster on to date, a win over Samoa Joe at Stomping Grounds for the US belt.

Though this one took a bit to get on track, the match soared once it got going. Joe’s overwhelming power dominated a good portion of the match. However, the babyface challenger fought his way back from everything, including a Coquina Clutch. Ricochet appeared to be seconds from losing consciousness. Then, he countered by dropping Joe’s neck on the top rope. He followed up with a knee strike to the face and his trademark 630 Splash for the victory.

In addition to the One and Only’s title win, WWE announced later a meeting with AJ Styles. Ricochet will take on The Phenomenal One in a non-title match on Monday Night Raw. Therefore, WWE clearly had bigger plans for Ricochet than we imagined. Meanwhile, Joe’s run as US Champion ended in underwhelming fashion with a program against Rey Mysterio that fell flat.

 

GOOD: TAG TEAM WRESTLING SIZZLES IN SD TITLE MATCH

Washington native Daniel Bryan and tag team partner Rowan combined with Heavy Machinery to put on a tag team wrestling clinic. Bryan scored the victory with a roll-up on Tucker to keep the belts on the heel champs. However, Otis and Tucker proved they can hang with the heavyweights of the tag team division in a big spot.

Early on, Heavy Machinery’s heft proved too much for the Earth’s Champ. Otis shrugged off Bryan’s arsenal of kicks. Then, he and Tucker hit a double-team suplex to send Bryan reeling. However, the 7-foot Redwood turned the tide on the Steaks & Weights Crew. He slugged it out, toe-to-toe with Otis and Tucker. Yet, the numbers game wore on Rowan. Eventually, Otis won a back-and-forth clothesline contest and hit a massive bodyslam.

As usual, Bryan saved the day. He hit a flying knee from the top rope to thwart Heavy Machinery’s Compactor attempt. Though Tucker got the momentum back with a top-rope splash on Rowan, he ended up falling to Bryan on the roll-up from nowhere.

These two teams didn’t disappoint. After the match, Bryan hyped tag team wrestling on social media. It sounds like WWE remains committed to bringing more respectability to that division. If this match provided any indication, expect more good things to come from Bryan & Rowan against Heavy Machinery on Tuesdays.

 

GOOD: BAYLEY RETAINS, BLISS-CROSS STORY GAINS

The SmackDown Women’s Championship match also checked all the boxes as great booking continued. Bayley scored the victory to keep her momentum growing as one of the best babyface champs on either roster. Meanwhile, WWE continued to develop the twisted friendship angle between Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. Furthermore, Bliss proved quite a bit in her first spotlight singles title match since SummerSlam last August. Health concerns caused her to miss a lot of time and stay out of the ring at first upon her return. However, she looks like she’s all the way back now.

The ring story clicked on all cylinders. Bliss exploited her friend several times to gain an advantage The Hugger. However, Bayley once again outsmarted the heels as they unraveled. Ultimately, the unhinged nature of Cross ending up costing The Goddess another reign with the blue belt.

Bayley’s clinching push started when she fought her way back from Bliss targeting her arm. The Hugger hit a Sunset Flip Bomb that sent Bliss’ head smacking into a turnbuckle. The Goddess rolled to the outside and then used Cross as a human shield on Bayley’s Suicide Dive. However, this infuriated Cross and that hot-headed temper ended up costing Bliss. The Scot stormed into the ring and threw a fit at the ref while Bayley got her knees up on a Twisted Bliss attempt. The champ then hit her patented Bayley-to-Belly for the 1-2-3.

In summation, we got the right winner, a tremendous ring story and great performances from all three women. This one likely exceeded expectations anyone had going into the match.

 

BAD: REIGNS-MCINTYRE ALL ABOUT MCMAHON AGAIN

WWE had a nice slugfest between Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre brewing. Sure, it’s a WrestleMania 35 rematch. However, these guys could easily collide for a Universal Championship title in the future.

Unfortunately, the end of the match got bogged down with Shane McMahon interference. The “Best in the World” broke up a pinfall attempt, assaulted an official and hit a Coast-to-Coast on Reigns. Yet, Reigns overcame all the odds this time, unlike his Super ShowDown loss to McMahon. He rallied and nailed McIntyre with a spear to collect a victory in his rematch with McIntyre.

As a result of the booking, WWE failed to make the Scottish Psychopath look like anything more than McMahon’s minion. Reigns and McIntyre engaged in a physical, hotly contested match that could’ve done more to elevate Drew. However, the priority once again became Shane-O-Mac. Obviously, this did nothing more than serve as a commercial for an Extreme Rules gimmick match with Reigns and Shane.

 

GOOD: WWE GAVE KOFI AND ZIGGLER TIME TO WORK

The WWE Championship match built slowly, but turned into a drama-filled classic. These two veterans relished the Stomping Grounds spotlight after toiling in the midcard most of their careers. In addition, it served as a perfect setup for the drama to come in the main event between Rollynch and Corbin and Evans.

Ziggler teased making a break for it out of the steel cage early on twice. Kingston also tried to escape once in the early going. Then, the two settled in and had a hell of a match. The Hollywood Heel used the cage as his torture instrument. He had the champ reeling with a pair of leg locks and a Zig Zag. Then, he took aim for the belt with the cage door open. Though mere inches separated him from victory, Kingston stole the win with a head-first dive through the open door. As a result, Kingston hit the floor first before Ziggler could make his escape. WWE.com called it one of the most “spectacular conclusions to a Steel Cage Match in WWE history.”

Critics railed against Ziggler at Super ShowDown, alleging he looked flat quite a bit. He must’ve taken that to heart because the rematch had passion and energy. Though he ate two L’s from Kingston just week apart, Ziggler came off looking strong. Meanwhile, Kofi continues to turn in classic in-ring work almost every time he works a pay-per-view show. He keeps finding ways to excel above anyone’s expectations.

 

RELATED: WHO BOOKED THIS CRAP: STOMPING GROUNDS EDITION

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