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.