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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.






Editorials Press Professional Wrestling TV and Cinema WWE

Who Booked this Crap: Stomping Grounds Edition

Welcome to The Nerd Hub and our preview of the WWE Stomping Grounds pay-per-view. Fans on social media keep holding a pre-roast of the show at Tacoma, Washington. Admittedly, it’s hard to get excited with matches we’ve just seen at Super ShowDown or Money in the Bank. However, we’ll do our best to put lipstick on this pig of a show with how we’d book it.


The booking of the Stomping Grounds Cruiserweight Championship match likely hinged on a recent contract WWE struck. Given that Mike Kanellis recently agreed to a lucrative, 5-year deal, he’s a lock for a title reign. Therefore, babyface champ Tony Nese probably retains in this triple-threat match against Akira Tozawa and Drew Gulak. It doesn’t make sense for babyface Tozawa to win and drop the belt immediately. Likewise, Gulak becoming a heel champ seems like a poor rivalry for fellow heel, Kanellis.

On the other hand, Gulak seems like the choice to upset Nese if Kanellis’ title run isn’t imminent. In fact, WWE could book it so the title changes hands without Nese losing. Under that scenario, WWE could extend the Nese-Gulak program through Extreme Rules. Nese could claim he never actually lost the title and demand a rematch. So, this match comes down to which scenario seems more likely. I’ll go with WWE trying to make Kanellis happy as quickly as possible. Therefore, I’ll take the champ to retain at Stomping Grounds.

Winner: Cruiserweight Champ Tony Nese



Eco-Warrior Champ Daniel Bryan walked the line with promos against his Stomping Grounds opponents. He’s said Otis and Tucker are clowns, but they’re capable of being dangerous. However, that’s only when they’re not trying to get a laugh. As usual, most of the WWE Universe loves to hate Bryan and his 7-foot Redwood, Rowan. However, fan disdain doesn’t make Bryan’s sentiments wrong.

Furthermore, The B-Team represents the most distinguished opponents Heavy Machinery have defeated so far. In fact, Otis and Tucker’s biggest battle since their promotion from NXT remains appearing on TV consistently. Most of their matches on the main roster wind up coming against the always popular “local competitors.” Though the squash matches highlight their power, Heavy Machinery hardly seems like championship material. That’s why I don’t expect Otis to caterpillar his way to gold at Stomping Grounds.

Winner: SmackDown Tag Team Champs Daniel Bryan & Rowan



Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn stacked more “L’s” in the past two months than the Washington Generals. Given their antics, the New Day compare favorably to the Harlem Globetrotters. However, I expect the laughingstocks to finally get up off the mat and turn things around at Stomping Grounds.

Put simply, Owens and Zayn simply need this victory more than Big E and Xavier Woods. New Day could put on a Curt Hawkins’ like losing streak together and not lose an ounce of popularity. Furthermore, there’s absolutely no stakes on this match. Owens and Zayn gain credibility with a win, while New Day loses nothing. This one looks like a slam dunk for me.

Winners: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn 



Ricochet emerged as one of the biggest winners of the Stomping Grounds go-home show episode of Raw. He defeated Bobby Lashley, Cesaro, Braun Strowman and The Miz in a Fatal 5-Way to earn his title chance. Then, he ducked out on heel champ Samoa Joe’s post-match ambush. Historically, those who do well on the go-home show suffer a terrible fate on the pay-per-view show. So, The One and Only may experience a rough go at the Tacoma Dome.

The United States Champ has failed to impress much on pay-per-views in 2019. Samoa Joe squashed a reportedly injured-at-the-time Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania. Then, Joe suffered what WWE described as a “shattered nose” when Mysterio hit a seated senton at Money in the Bank. Perhaps, that led to the rough finish with Mysterio winning without actually getting Joe’s shoulders on the mat. However, Mysterio soon suffered another injury to then hand the title back to Joe week later. Therefore, Joe seemingly needs to hit a home run soon to keep the belt a bit longer.

Fortunately for Joe, this feels a tad early for a Ricochet run with the belt. However, this match could steal the show if given enough time. As a result, expect Joe’s match to run a bit longer at Stomping Grounds than the past two pay-per-views. Yet, Joe probably keeps his title. In fact, I think WWE uses this match to buy time for Mysterio to come back and beat Joe at SummerSlam.

Winner: United States Champ Samoa Joe



Fans of the Scottish Psychopath believe Stomping Grounds may finally bring him a signature pay-per-view win. WWE billed him as a future main event scene champ when he earned his promotion from NXT. However, he’s gained the reputation over the past year of being the heel who gets over on cable TV and puts over others on Sundays. So, the booking of this match depends on whether you believe WWE pulls the trigger on McIntyre contending for a title soon.

As for me, I have my doubts for a few reasons. First, Roman Reigns just lost to Shane McMahon at Super ShowDown two weeks ago. The Big Dog doesn’t exactly stack a bunch of pay-per-view losses. Second, wild card shenanigans aside, McIntyre still exists as a Raw Superstar. So, any impending main event scene push for McIntyre would involve Seth Rollins. However, the Beastslayer already has a long line of heel challengers in Brock Lesnar, Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and potentially AJ Styles. So, the timing on a big push for McIntyre in the Raw main event title scene looks off to me.

Furthermore, Reigns continues to get booked through the roof. The only notable setback for Reigns since his return from battling leukemia came against Shane-O-Mac. He seems far more likely for an impending title run in the short term than McIntyre. So, I expect Reigns to get over on McIntyre, just like WrestleMania 35.

Winner: Roman Reigns



Welcome to wild card WWE. It’s where the SmackDown Women’s Championship will get defended against a Raw Superstar. Despite a bevy of worthy challengers on the Blue Brand, Bayley once again battles old nemesis, Alexa Bliss. However, The Hugger will not go out like she did in 2017 at Stomping Grounds.

Bayley’s fall from grace as a singles talent all started with getting buried by Bliss. The Goddess took the title off her in her hometown of San Jose at Payback. Then, WWE booked Bayley to look extremely weak in a kendo stick match at Extreme Rules. Unfortunately, it took the ultimate babyface two years to get back into the singles title scene.

However, Bayley looks like she’s back on top to stay for awhile now. She’s getting booked as the babyface champ who outsmarts heel opponents by waiting for them to unravel themselves. Furthermore, she’s proving she needs nothing as drastic as a heel turn as so many called to see from her. She’s back to being a tremendous babyface like she was on NXT.

In addition, Bayley needs to win to continue the storyline between Bliss and Nikki Cross. WWE could book it to where Bliss takes a loss and then Cross tries to avenge her in a gimmick match at Extreme Rules. Given Bliss’ delicate health situation, an Extreme Rules match might not be safe for her. Then, that could lead Cross and Bliss turning on each other down the line.

Therefore, Bayley retaining winds up helping all three performers.

Winner: SmackDown Women’s Champ Bayley



WWE may feel tempted to throw a curveball here, but it shouldn’t. Lacey Evans owns great command of her character. She cuts great interviews. She succeeds in carrying over her persona on social media. However, she still seems like she’s got plenty to prove in the ring. In fact, her match with Charlotte Flair a few weeks ago is a contender for one of the biggest stinkers this year.

Futhermore, I’m convinced WWE chose the wrong lane for Evans with her character. Though she’s won over some fans with her “Sassy Southern Belle” work, I think her character would hit a home run playing up her past as a marine. The WWE spends plenty of time with functions involving the military. So, I feel Evans would gain much more support quicker with that gimmick. However, that also would likely mean turning her into a babyface character.

One thing is for sure. Becky Lynch should retain against any version of Evans. WWE spent four months building up Lynch’s win over Rousey at WrestleMania. It’s simply too soon to take the belt off her now. Besides, the Extreme Rules card already advertises another Lynch-Evans match. So, it makes more sense for me to keep Evans chasing after the belt. The other way around just screams of the 50-50 booking driving WWE fans nuts these days.

Winner: RAW Women’s Champ Becky Lynch



Here’s another chance for a WWE curveball. Kofi Kingston retained his WWE Championship with a victory over Ziggler at Super ShowDown. However, Kofi needed a big assist from Xavier Woods to do so. Woods kicked Ziggler in the head from the outside of the ring with the ref’s back turned. As a result, Kingston got the perfect setup for Trouble in Paradise for the win.

Furthermore, SmackDown lacks great main event heels right now. The only other top-shelf heat magnet remains to be Kevin Owens. However, Kingston has already defeated Owens in singles and tag team matches several times the past few months. So, Ziggler represents perhaps the only great candidate from SmackDown to dethrone Kofi before the move to Fox. If not now, Kingston probably holds the belt through October and eats a loss from Brock Lesnar.

Therefore, I will call perhaps the only upset of my predictions here. Give me the Hollywood Heel for the win. Kingston lacks his backup in this one, and I think Ziggler set the stage for a title run. Besides, WWE likes to throw belts at talents reportedly entertaining a departure from the company. Putting a belt on Ziggler likely prevents him from walking away from WWE.

Winner: Dolph Ziggler



This feels like the end of the road for Seth Rollins with his Universal Championship. Everyone knows Brock Lesnar will take part in this match, likely as the guest referee. Ironically, WWE teased the Beast-in-the-Bank’s cash in for weeks to hold off only to have him do so unadvertised. However, WWE may get creative in how they get to the ending everyone expects.

Baron Corbin exists as a polarizing figure among fans. Many think he’s the absolute worst and complain he’s often booked in main events. On the other hand, he’s won over more people as his mic work and feel for generating heat have improved. So, it’s plausible WWE gives Corbin an extremely brief title reign before Brock swoops in and takes the belt back.

In fact, I think that scenario benefits all three guys the most. Rollins loses in dirty fashion, so he loses no credibility with fans. Corbin gets to say he won the Universal Championship. Lesnar fulfills Vince McMahon’s wishes and puts us back to the ultimate villain as titleholder. As a result, babyfaces start pursuit of Lesnar again and WWE can potentially get a heel-heel feud between Lesnar and Corbin.

Winner: Baron Corbin/Brock Lesnar cashes in to defeat Corbin