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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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.



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.






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Laying the Smack Down: New Day Edition

It’s a New Day for The Nerd Hub’s weekly breakdown of WWE SmackDown Live. Yes, it is. This week, Big E of New Day returned yet again. He even joked if returns were title reigns he’d be Charlotte Flair. Cue the Xavier Woods trombone pop. Unfortunately, the rest of the show from Golden 1 Center in Sacramento followed the safe formulaic approach we’ve come to know and hate from WWE. With Super ShowDown just put in the rear view and Stomping Grounds only weeks away, we got rehashing of most of what happened in Jeddah. Let’s break it down.


Not much new to tell you from the main event. Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn continued to serve as the pimped out fodder for WWE Champion Kofi Kingston. This time, Kingston teamed with his New Day boys, Big E and Woods, to defeat the three B-plus player heels in the main event.

Outside of Big E’s awesome crack at Charlotte Flair, Ziggler ran his mouth some more on how he’s more deserving than Kofi to hold the belt. He also blamed Woods’ interference late in the Super ShowDown match for Kingston’s victory. The Hollywood Heel said Kingston can only beat him with his New Day brethren backing him up. Naturally, this led to Zayn coming out for another tiresome rant on getting justice against hypocrites. As a result, Owens soon followed because he and Zayn are annoyingly tied at the hip again. As expected, WWE creative took the passion and energy Zayn and Owens worked up independently on the mic for weeks after WrestleMania and wasted it. They got placed back in their predictable space again, getting spanked by babyface champions.

Even the match went like most New Day matches you’ve witnessed a thousand times. Big E got them off to a hot start against heel patsy, Zayn. Woods then got his butt kicked for a while. However, Big E came back to save the day with a hot tag that set up Kofi for the big victory. Yet, Ziggler actually handed New Day the victory this time. He thumped Zayn with an errant superkick before Kingston hit Trouble in Paradise for the pin.

As far as main events go, the action during the match went over okay. However, the story remained a dud for me. Nobody believes Ziggler will win the belt at Stomping Grounds. So, it’s a lot of work to set up a match most people aren’t all that excited to see in the first place.


The arrow continues to point up for SmackDown Women’s Champ Bayley. WWE creative found the formula for what worked for her at NXT and that needs to continue. Nikki Cross, the newfound companion of Bayley’s Stomping Grounds opponent, Alexa Bliss, pushed the champ. However, Bayley fought her way back with a closing onslaught capped with a top-rope elbow for the 1-2-3.

This Bayley seems much different than the milquetoast version of her as Raw Women’s Champ in 2017. She’s outsmarting her opponents, while still formidable enough physically to match up with almost anyone on the roster. It makes no sense for WWE to put the SmackDown belt on a Raw talent like Bliss at Stomping Grounds. So, hopefully they continue to invest more time into this rebooted Bayley as champ. However, WWE often throws smart booking decisions out the window in favor of blondes when it comes to the women’s division. Let’s hope that’s not the case in Tacoma on June 23rd.


Don’t get too excited. The former NXT Champion failed to escape Promoville this week. However, he dropped a fire and brimstone version with all the aggression on the mic that we’ve come to expect from him in the ring. One of the hardest strikers in the biz lashed out in a big way. He had a backstage staffer open the door to the room in which he was taping his message and then let loose. He vented that his door remains open and he’s ready for anyone who wants to walk through it.

The passion reflects the heart of the true competitor Black is. He’s not received his chance to compete in months. Like a dying man suffocating from a lack of air, Black seemed desperate to field any challenge. Unfortunately, his in-ring work still seems like it’s at minimum a few weeks away. I doubt he makes his way on the Stomping Grounds card, so we likely won’t see what’s in store for him until the Raw or SmackDown after the pay-per-view show at the earliest.


We opened the show with Miz TV and this led to thirty minutes straight of putting over Shane McMahon. I vomited a little in my mouth. It’s bad enough that they had Shane beat Miz at WrestleMania and Money in the Bank and Roman Reigns at Stomping Grounds. However, WWE continues to double down on the use of Shane each week as they overexpose him week after week as the big baddie on the block.

This week, Miz had Elias, Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon on as guests. As you’d expect, it set up in-ring work for this group. However, the twist came in the naming of a gauntlet match for The Miz. He started off with Elias, and managed to win that one because they’ve made The Walking Truth a joke again. However, McIntyre laid out The A-Lister with a Claymore Kick to beat him. McMahon then went to work on the worn-out Miz. Though he fought back valiantly, McMahon won again with a triangle choke. The Best in the World continues to saddle up Miz for a ride to the top.

It’s sad to see one of the best talents in the WWE get used like the Miz has this year. He’s truly had crap booking since the tag team storyline started at the end of 2018. Unfortunately for Miz, there’s no hint he’s headed for anything meaningful in the near future.


Sonya Deville/Mandy Rose – The evil twins doubled their fun this week, tormenting Carmella and Ember Moon. Backstage, Deville and Rose destroyed Moon’s video gaming system. This seems like a tease for a program involving the three in the future. In the ring, the Golden Goddess interfered several times to help get Deville a victory over Carmella. She placed Deville’s foot on the ropes to break up Carmella’s Code of Silence. Then, she twice distracted the Staten Island Princess on the outside. Though Carmella hit a suicide dive and a superkick to take out Rose, she ate a leaping knee from Deville when she got back in the ring for the loss. It’s more strong booking for Deville and Rose.

Nikki Cross – Though she lost to Bayley, Cross continues to get use on both shows after going months without being on TV at all. She’s last remnant of Sanity left on the main roster with any chance of success. Cross has looked great in the ring against some of the top women in the company, but creatively it seems like her character is still being worked on.

Apollo Crews – The rarely seen Superstar received a backstage warning from Zelina Vega that teased a program with Andrade. Crews brought up Andrade’s loss to Intercontinental Champ Finn Balor at Super ShowDown. Needless to say, Crews and Andrade could put on quite a show in the ring. Let’s hope WWE gives us a match between those two great athletes at some point.

Chad Gable – Another MIA Superstar since switching brands, Gable had a cameo during Crews’ backstage promo. He appeared to be taking notes behind Crews. Then, Gable, who had most of his hair cut off recently, later made his 205 Live debut. Not to keep harping, but 30 minutes of Shane is exactly why guys like Crews and Gable get relegated to bit parts backstage.

Aleister Black – There’s light at the end of the tunnel for the former NXT Champion. After weeks of promos seemingly leading us nowhere, it looks like Black appears close to hitting the ring in a few weeks. Let’s hope the commitment made to him with these promos leads us to something more promising than the reboot of Mojo Rawley. In my opinion, I’d rather see someone like Black get a shot at Kofi than Ziggler. However, WWE has yet to prove they believe in Black on the main roster to this point.


Heavy Machinery – Why would we take these guys seriously when the SmackDown Tag Team Champions don’t? We got a brief appearance from Daniel Bryan and Rowan who basically told us Otis and Tucker don’t deserve a championship shot. So, WWE creative goes and proves the point by having them wrestler “local competitors.” They squashed former Tough Enough contestant A.J. Kirsch and Dave Dutra. To make matters worse, the “local competitors” had cardboard championship belts. Nothing to see here, unless you like seeing Otis do the caterpillar.

Elias – Remember when WWE seemed to be building him for something? He and Dr. of Thuganomics John Cena delivered one of the most memorable moments of Wrestlemania. Then, The Undertaker reappeared the next night on Raw in Brooklyn to take out The Living Truth. Now, he’s a mere minion to Shane McMahon. WWE evidently only seems him as a clown musician.

Drew McIntyre – He’s no longer everyone’s edgy pick to clean up the Raw roster and become a main event player. Now, he’s Shane McMahon’s lap dog. Way to neuter someone with a name as cool as Scottish Psychopath, WWE. You know since Roman Reigns lost to Shane at Super ShowDown that McIntyre’s eating a loss at Stomping Grounds for sure. That would make three fat Ls in a row for big Drew against Roman.

Carmella – She spent a good portion of early 2018 as the SmackDown Women’s Champ. Now, she’s running for her life backstage with R-Truth in the 24/7 Championship shenanigans and putting over others. With Bayley getting run as champ, Mandy and Sonya on the rise and Charlotte Flair always lurking, Mella seems out of serious title contention for quite awhile.

The Miz – He’s one of the best talents in the company mired in one of its worst stories. Welcome to WWE creative hell, A-Lister. The one bright spot remains that his fans can watch him, Maryse and Monroe Sky on his reality show, Miz and Mrs. 






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Laying the Smack Down: Goldberg Edition

Welcome to The Nerd Hub and our weekly smack talking about WWE SmackDown Live. The WWE Back to the Future Week continued as Goldberg headlined the show from Laredo, Texas. The 52-year-old former Universal Champion appeared in the main event segment. In his first SmackDown visit, he addressed the comments from the 54-year-old Undertaker on Monday Night Raw. The two will square off Friday at WWE Super ShowDown in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. No word on whether they will use Doc Brown’s DeLorean to time travel back to their primes for the match.


Goldberg brought a message for The Undertaker to SmackDown Live. Come Friday, Family Man Goldberg stays at home. Butt-kicking Goldberg will take out The Deadman in the desert. Laugh all you want about the timing of this match, but seeing the two in the ring together provides a cool visual. Even Goldberg admitted he’s wanted this match for 20 years.

We expected to see all of this.

WWE threw in the swerve, though, once The Undertaker’s trademark gong sounded. Then, the lights went out. By the time the lights came on, The Deadman had materialized in the ring behind Goldberg. The two legends stared each other down in the middle of the ring. Then, the lights went out again. When they turned back on, the Deadman had vanished.

Whether you buy WWE’s hype that Super ShowDown will equal or surpass WrestleMania, Goldberg and Undertaker delivered what they could this week to set up the WWE Network pay-per-view that starts 2 p.m. ET.


Welcome to the wacky WWE Wild Card era. This week, SmackDown Live held a No. 1 Contender match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship. So, naturally the winner of the match comes from the RAW roster?

Wait. What?

You read that correctly. Alexa Bliss visited SmackDown Live to host SmackDown Women’s Champ Bayley for a “Moment of Bliss.” Things got heated, and eventually Bayley knocked Bliss’ coffee out of her hands. Soon after that exchange, Carmella and Charlotte Flair provided the inevitable interruptions that always plague “Moment of Bliss” segments. As a result, WWE announced a match between the three would determine who faces Bayley at Stomping Grounds on June 23.

This seemed like the perfect time to re-introduce Carmella into the main event scene. However, Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville thought otherwise. Rose and Deville distracted the Princess of Staten Island throughout the match. They even prevented her from pressing her advantage after a superkick felled Flair. Eventually, the distracted Carmella fell victim to a Bliss DDT.

So, The Goddess faces Bayley for the SmackDown title.

Obviously, WWE would pick the least logical booking option because that’s WWE.


R-Truth’s next video may feature The Bee Gees’ “Stayin’ Alive” as its soundtrack. Like the careers of Goldberg and Undertaker, R-Truth’s reign with the 24/7 Championship will not die.

Heel Shane McMahon initiated a match for his lackey Elias. He called R-Truth on Carmella’s phone and informed him of troubling news. The champ would defend his title against The Drifter in a lumberjack match. The Living Truth quickly took out R-Truth with a high knee for his second reign with the title. However, this caused a wild scene with the lumberjacks scrambling to get a shot at Elias.

Unfortunately for the new champ, he snuck out of the ring only to come face-to-face with R-Truth. The former champ caught him under the ring for another quick pinfall to start his fourth title reign with the belt. He lost and then won the belt over the weekend against Jinder Mahal on a golf course.


Heel Shane McMahon promised to “neuter” The Big Dog at Super ShowDown. Then, Shane O’Mac laid out Reigns with a spear, thanks to Drew McIntyre and The Revival.

Though Undertaker versus Goldberg excites some, I think it’s fairly universal that no one cares about Shane-Roman. Shane appearing twice a week as many other actual wrestlers with the company remain off TV mystifies me. Let’s hope Friday brings a conclusion to the monster heel push for Shane.

Reigns managed to rock Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder on his way to interrupt the McMahon promo. However, McIntyre dropped The Big Dog with a Claymore. As a result, the Scottish Psychopath held up Reigns for the McMahon spear.

When you consider Aleister Black, Buddy Murphy, Liv Morgan and several other Superstars who came to SmackDown during the Superstar Shake-Up have yet to get in the ring on Tuesdays, this feud becomes all the more frustrating.


WWE Champion Kofi Kingston – The champ’s booking remains among the strongest in all of the WWE. The show opened with him and Xavier Woods showing a video of his trip to his native Ghana. He brimmed with pride in representing his country as champ. His Super ShowDown opponent, Dolph Ziggler, then presented a video of his career. Kingston and Woods then defeated Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens in a rushed tag match before Ziggler laid out The New Day. This feud exists as the most anti-climactic one on the card Friday. No one believes Ziggler will dethrone Kofi.

Alexa Bliss – Most expected The Goddess to get back in the main event scene against RAW Women’s Champ Becky Lynch. However, Bliss will revisit the feud that led to her longest title reign on RAW by taking on Bayley. The Goddess punked The Hugger at the 2017 Payback show in her hometown of San Jose. As a result, it took Bayley two years to get another serious run with the title by cashing in at Money in the Bank.

Lars Sullivan – The Freak actually acquitted himself fairly well in his first interview segment with Kayla Braxton. He explained he destroyed people because he’d accepted that’s his role. He said he’s supposed to assume the role of a monster to be feared. However, it’s fair to question whether he gets any fans to get back on his hype train after his past racist comments.

Elias – The Living Truth continues to crack the TV lineup on a weekly basis. Therefore, he remains relevant in WWE’s plans. Since the Wild Card continues to limit opportunities for a majority of Superstars on the roster, that’s a serious feather in the cap of Elias. Fans of his must hope he can ascend from the 24/7 Championship storylines to something bigger.

Mandy Rose/Sonya Deville – They had a small role this week, but it showed they also hold some prominence within WWE. Rose seems like a good bet to win her first title belt this year. As a result, we’ll get the inevitable Rose-Deville confrontation everyone wants as the payoff.


Intercontinental Champ Finn Balor-Andrade – Unlike Shane-Roman, fans actually want to see more great stuff from Andrade and the champ. So, naturally WWE put that feud on the backburner for weeks ahead of their match at Super ShowDown. This week, Andrade took out Apollo Crews before they could wrestle their announced match. As a result, Balor raced out to make the save, but Andrade leveled him with a Hammerlock DDT. The whole segment got the rush treatment of a midcard feud WWE could care less to promote.

Aleister Black – The Promo King of SmackDown Live continues in promo appearances only. He explained this week that he’s not surprised no one answered his open challenge last week. Unfortunately, nobody else seems surprised by this either. That’s because everyone has figured out Vince continues to do his level best to kill any fan interest in our occult friend.

Dolph Ziggler – The first time The Showoff appeared and read Kofi the riot act for taking his opportunity and winning gold made an impression. However, Heel Ziggler continues to deliver the exact same promo in mail-in fashion show after show. It’s as if we all know he’s booked as a one-off loss to Kingston at Super ShowDown.

Shane McMahon – You get it. I don’t care for the uber push Shane receives as a heel. Just to reiterate, it makes no sense he gets so much air time while guys who actually wrestle for a living don’t.

SmackDown Women’s Division – Booking Alexa Bliss to get a crack at Bayley amounts to nothing less than a slap to the face of SmackDown’s women’s division. The Superstar Shake-Up sent a majority of the best women’s talent in WWE to SmackDown. However, you’d never know that with the Wild Card rule. Bayley, Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, Mandy Rose and Alexa Bliss get top billing. Almost everyone else fights for the scraps.