3 Things to Watch if you DVR

  • 1) 6 Man Elimination (1:58)
  • 2) Charlotte/Paige (:58)
  • 3) Zayn/Miz (1:13)

We are live from Omaha (insert Peyton Manning joke here), Nebraska. Which is never brought up until Nattie says it on commentary. Vince will not admit they go to the sticks.

The Highlight Reel w/ Mitch

Jericho gloats over his beating of Dean Ambrose with Mitch as a metaphor, Mitch having more personality than Ambrose. Big Cass is out, I would presume as a trial by fire for Vince to see if there’s solo potential. Cass conveys “face menace” pretty well here although the need to get to the catchphrases undermines it a bit. Jericho has a nice slight calling Cass’ partner “Enzo Annoying.”

(Cut scene in Jeff’s snarky mind)

Cass: The “New Era” is about standing and fighting

Vince (in the back): That’s me, I’ve always stood and fought all my life. I’m a fighter and a stander dammit! Just like I did with the U.S. Government!

A big boot sends Jericho fleeing. Backstage, he runs into Stephanie who tells Jericho not to drive a wedge between them, that they are united. That’s new..

Baron Corbin def. Dolph Ziggler

Corbin gets an interrupted inset promo. He’s not here for the New Era. Pretty much Corbin killing a resilient Dolph with a few comebacks. Good showcase for Baron, but I wonder if we continue down the 50-50 path until after Extreme Rules.

AJ is in da Club so come give him a hug if you into being rubbed.

Charlotte comes to Shane to try and turn him against Stephanie regarding the “No Ric” rule at Extreme Rules. Shane upholds the decision and adds that Ric can’t come out for Charlotte’s match tonight either against Paige

R-Truth def. Fandango

The cultural reference of the week is Civil War (not the one that inspired R-Truth’s worst moment in WWE, the one in the Marvel Universe) to hype a Gorgeous Truth vs. Goldango match on Smackdown. Goldust and Tyler Breeze try dueling distractions. Truth sends Fandango into the ropes and knocks Breeze off, hits his reverse STO on Fandango and picks up the win.

Stephanie and Shane make a Triple Threat with Cesaro, Miz and Kevin Owens. Sami Zayn wants in, and gets a match to make it a Fatal 4 Way against Miz. Steph and Shane are getting chummy due to workplace kismet.

Charlotte def. Paige

Nattie’s here to provide stilted insight about the fact that she’s a Hart, since that’s all they let her talk about, except for an Instagram plug for Nattie’s cat. Byron Saxton provides historical context for the match in the ring. My jaw drops but quickly recovers as commentary proceeds to try and suck the life out of a solid match. Charlotte and Paige have a brawling back and forth match, full of taunting and Charlotte upping her smack talk quotient. Paige gets quite a bit of offense on the champ, with the story being that Ric’s absence is throwing the champion off her game. The match teases a couple of Paige pins and submissions, Nattie is obviously waiting to be fed lines while out here. Charlotte tries to get leverage on a pin attempt, leading to a Nattie distraction and false hope spot. Ric Flair makes his way out distracting Paige who gets a backbreaker for being a stupid babyface. Shane McMahon and referees attempt to take away Ric, which distracts Charlotte as Paige gets the Unbreakable Schoolboy of Doom for the win.

Until it became anarchy, it was a really good match rehabbing Paige’s spot on the roster if they wanted to follow up on such a performance. Nattie didn’t do herself any favors on commentary, but that’s a two way street due to JBL and Cole derailing anything she was trying to do. Paige has been out of the ring so long her gear is giving her issues.

Sami Zayn def. The Miz (w/Maryse)

My immediate thought: please don’t let Sami do a dive spot, there’s virtually no chance he’ll be caught. Someone decided to want Cole and JBL to kick up obnoxiousness to a new level off of the previous match. Maryse saves Sami by yanking Miz out of the way of an attempted dive. Sami gets great babyface fire after a moonsault off the barricade and throwing Miz around a bit. After being on the roster a few weeks, Maryse has now raised the annoying level on the act to impressive levels, and I mean this as a compliment. The second half story of the match is Miz hitting Zayn with vicious offense as Sami valiantly escapes by the skin of his teeth. Zayn eventually turns the tide after a Miz miscue, hits the Exploder Suplex and a Helluva Kick for the win.

Miz was really solid here, I know it sounds like a broken record, but he’s making a run at being the most underrated talent on the roster in terms of what he brings to the table. I think having his wife on the road has been nothing but a positive for his mental state. He seems more atune during matches.

Renee interviews Becky Lynch, and Emma interrupts the talk about eyes to say Becky needs them in the back of her head. Dana Brooke is here for a beatdown, but didn’t Emma just beat Becky. Oh it was an eye poke so it’s not a real win, got it. I wonder if they’re going to let Dana work or if she’s going to be here to merely second Emma, given Dana hasn’t been in the ring since the Asuka match two Takeover specials ago, and while she was improving, she wasn’t on the Horsewomen level.. The main roster is not a teaching opportunity, talents sink rather quick if the audience thinks they can’t go. I’m guessing they mostly keep her away from matches except for the singular Becky sacrifice, which is a shame.

Obligatory consoling for Asuka/Bayley fans looking for merit based promotion: The realistic view is, Dana’s been on the radar since the #LikeAGirl campaign which featured her over more notable names before she even debuted. She’s a bodybuilder, which makes HHH and Vince automatic fans; and she’s blonde, which goes into Kevin Dunn and Vince’s wheelhouse. I think she’s mostly here to give Emma the rub and pat announcers on the head. It’s fine for now: Emma needs someone to play off of, and since Emma’s already beaten Becky, Becky needs someone to beat. Let’s not sweat it right now. As Sasha might tell you, they may be better off right now given this second feud is considered “deep” for how far go down the roster for women’s feuds.

Darren Young and Bob Backlund. I think Darren’s a hell of an actor that exudes charisma. This screams death. But please get merchandise to make a “Make Darren Young Great Again” hat for Rob to eat.

WWE finally gets around to plugging UpUpDownDown but it’s for use in a Pizza Hut ad. Oh and Sasha returns to Raw but it’s for use in a Pizza Hut ad. Take what you can get.

Zack Ryder’s living in the past as he talks to Shane. He wants to be a player. Kevin Owens is here to interrupt and to also trash Zack. Zack gets K.O. for a shot in the Fatal Four Way.

Sin Cara (w/Kalisto) def Rusev (w/Lana)

Dual distractions, Kalisto kicks Rusev. Unbreakable Schoolboy of Doom by Sin Cara for the win. I can only assume he gets the Apollo Creed treatment on Smackdown or next week.

The Colons show up next week, and we’ll wonder why they ever wanted to leave Puerto Rico if it’s so great.

Dumb Asides I think about when watching commercials: I’ve done at least one audition with “Ed Feldman” from the GoToMeeting commercial, and I’ve never met anyone who watches Royal Pains so I’m amazed Mark Feuerstein was employed for 8 straight years as opposed to Pilot Season Hell. His prior track record is Hindenberg-like.

Anderson/Gallows/Styles vs. Reigns/Uso/Uso (6 Man Elimination Match)

Earlier in the night AJ made it official that in his mind “The Club” (Bullet, not steering wheel) is back. Roman and the Usos did the usual “we’re Samoans and all related” promo. Omaha crowd has plenty of boos for Roman on the entrance.

Jey Uso is the first to be eliminated after being thrown to the ropes in a failed roll up attempt, getting punched by Gallows and Anderson holding the tights on an Unbreakable Schoolboy of Doom. Michael Cole doesn’t mention it. You have one job. Karl Anderson gets eliminated after taunting a fallen Jimmy when Jimmy small packages Anderson. I’m relieved this osn’t going to turn into “One Against All.”

Jimmy got eliminated by AJ during the break. Roman kills Gallows for a pin and it’s Roman vs. AJ. Wait is that a LOUD “ROMAN” CHANT? Wut? Roman throws AJ over the announce table and they’re playing up the rage thing which is interesting. Anderson attacks from behind with a chair giving Reigns the win. The Usos return and it’s a fight. Gallows and Anderson take out the Usos, Roman takes out Gallows and Anderson, AJ takes out Roman. Roman avoids a Styles Clash by dumping AJ over the top rope and Roman scolds AJ for wanting to Syles Clash him on a chair. Two minutes ago you threw him over a table. AJ rejects the chair but Roman picks it up when AJ attempts the Phenomenal Forearm. Dueling chants and the “Who really wants to break the rules” question adds the right amount of intrigue.

My problem with the match is it basically screams “Don’t care about the Usos or Anderson/Gallows as legitimate threats, they’re flunkies for the real stars” which has long been a poison pill in the way the main roster books “factions” see also The Edgebusters, Legacy members Cody and Ted Dibiase Jr, everyone in Nexus but Wade Barrett. Two fast pins and a pin during a commercial break tells everyone to not care about this match until it gets to the real stars and that’s when the story is going to start. You might as well tell people that the first 2/3 of a movie is meaningless exposition, buy your ticket and come in for the last 30 minutes. The other problem is it tends to sour people on the tag teams as legitimate threats once they try and build them up in the tag team division.

Kevin Owens def. Zack Ryder

Poor Zack. As with the Miz program they tease Zack pulling out a win, and give him plenty of offense, but all for naught. Pop Up Powerbomb for the win.

Big Cass talks to Renee. Cass is dedicating the match to his partner. They pull a “Roman” by making him both a heavy tough and then an immediate 180 into a suave ladies man. I don’t like when they do this to guys.

Dudley Boyz def. The New Day

AWWWWW OMAHA! The Vaudevillains get a black and white inset promo. I dig the look of the promos and the literal mustache twirling, I just don’t think this has shelf life after Extreme Rules unless they win. The New Day get their lines and Booty-O jokes, this time channeling Aladdin.

This is an even-steven match that turns post-Unicorn Stampede when the Vaudevillains attack Xavier. Kofi gets short arm clotheslined by D-Von for the three. Vaudevillains hit a Whirling Dirvish post-match.

Jericho vs. Big Cass – No Contest

Something weird’s going on with Jericho in his light up jacket. Ah, there’s your answer—because it’s Prop Comic Dean Ambrose in it. Jericho is laid out on the top of the ramp, agape at what is happening. Dean tears apart the jacket. Jericho treats this like Dean’s killing a baby. Fisticuffs in the ring until Jericho can save the jacket, but outside, Cass gets a hold of Jericho and throws Jericho and the jacket back in for a Dirty Deeds for Y2J and more post-match jacket cutting shenanigans.

The McMahon siblings pat themselves on the back. Shane needs to take a call and Steph stares at the Vince/Shane photo. We are left to wonder why they do this obvious staged moment when they just showed last week that Stephanie is perpetrating a fraud and Shane knows she’s being insincere. I tend to think it’s because the show is written with a certain degree of contempt for the intellectual capacity of its audience.

Final Thoughts:

It wasn’t a bad show, but it wasn’t particularly memorable. The downside of 50-50 booking is the other 50, and this was the week for all of the champions to lose, and for everyone to lose via schoolboy. I just think we’re going to be sick of these pairings in two weeks at Extreme Rules to the point where even if the show is spectacular, no one will care.