Things You Must Watch if You DVR

  1. Kevin Owens vs.Cesaro (1:20)

We are live from Detroit.

Darren Young wins a Battle Royale and is the #1 Contender for the Intercontinental Title

Kind of a surprise, as Apollo Crews was the only superstar to get a televised entrance. Miz is out to watch, but so is the trophy for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale. Darren Young didn’t really win this per se, rather he survived as others eliminated themselves. Bob Backlund was at ringside for this, watching his protege and the in-ring celebration was fascinating, with fans chanting Young’s name. I have a weird fascination with how the Bob Backlund / Maryse promos might go down.

Sheamus def. Zack Ryder

Zack Ryder challenged Rusev backstage for the United States Championship, but got jumped by Sheamus, who announced they were fighting next. Sheamus wins with a Brogue Kick, and Rusev comes down to continue the pain, accepting Ryder’s challenge while applying the Accolade. So you beat the title contender in under a minute and then give him a match for the title, this is your solution to rebuilding a guy?

Breezango def. The Lucha Dragons

The whole point of this is to tease that one or both of these teams might get broken up. This is useful.

Rollins Report

Interesting that USA is keeping the Roman Reigns ad. This of course is edited footage, and the crowd pops for Seth Rollins’ suggestion to take Roman Reigns out of the match. WWE has a backup plan: make Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins look bad, and they do here. This is Ambrose’s best promo in a long while, but the simplest solution is often the best: Ambrose is telling us how unhinged he is, but this would be a time to show it. Commentary is putting over that Ambrose is a moron, which doesn’t help matters. Still, Rollins gets a chance at a one on one match he’s been lobbying for right there, but begs off when he should at least indulge in the notion. He’s a weasel, he’s a liar, and he’s a cheat. I understand the characterization. But what was supposed to be framed as Rollins being an opportunist instead comes off as Rollins being a coward. What is the difference between doing a one on one match then and doing it next week? This is never explained and it needs to be. Begging off makes Rollins a heel, but doing so makes him a weaker main event player in this case. Likewise, the unhinged champion doesn’t care about the rules fighting champion doesn’t take the opportunity to pop his enemy?

Kevin Owens def. Cesaro

Sami Zayn needs to be removed from commentary before Kevin Owens will come out. I like the thought of a heel being smart enough to know trouble may be afoot and doing something about it. Fun match with a bit of a surprise finish, as Owens finishes it with a torture rack into a swinging neckbreaker. Zayn comes diving out of the crowd to continue their feud and Cesaro gets credibility back with a Big Swing on Owens post-match.

Titus O’Neil def. Heath Slater

Pity Heath Slater. He’s tall, he’s athletic, he’s a great flake, he’s genuinely entertaining. He also has a Southern accent. So, Titus throws Heath around to pay for this transgression. Shout out to Bo Dallas for yelling “Escape” when Heath was getting slammed into a backbreaker.

The Final Day-letion

The pun is not my creation, nor should this be a one on one comparison. This was not camp nor self-aware of the ridiculousness in order to make it fun. It was the opposite, perhaps taking itself a bit too seriously for its own good. The film school pretentiousness was strong in this one—a lot of shaky cam, filters and inexplicable lens flares. It was a bunkhouse match that took place on a farm. Now, if this gives the New Day a much needed edge in response, I’m all for this and I will reconsider. By all means, I don’t want them to stop doing high concept film pieces, and perhaps judging now is a bit premature.

Enzo and Cass def. The Club by DQ

The most fascinating part of this was the pre-match exposition designed to get over the John Cena was not there due to the ESPYs. Mostly because they did a play on Allen Iverson’s “Practice” promo, and Iverson is not a big enough part of the Pistons lineage to matter (the promo was in Philadelphia and Iverson was a bench player in Detroit). It’s either trying to hard to pander for heel heat or an obscure pull by the writing staff that’s too clever by half.

John Cena of course shows up, because THIS IS ALL THAT MATTERS TO HIM! Segment did its job: Kept Cass strong, made Enzo scrappy, and made it clear John Cena is the savior of the brand.

Sasha Banks def. Dana Brooke

Dana probably got a bit too much offense. Sasha was game, but Dana is still learning. The aftermath came off strange to me as while Charlotte is cutting a post-match promo and Sasha is gesticulating, it appears they’re sharing knowing smiles as if “can you believe we’re on RAW together doing this?”

McMahon Family Values

Holy crap, Stephanie tried to cut off Vince during promo time, and he fends off the castration. It’s hard to watch when she’s stepping on everyone’s lines by interjecting snark to the point that people need to ask when they can continue their heavily scripted portion . This would be better served in a Psychiatrist’s office, but it’s to set up “competition” for Smackdown. I did like Steph’s exasperated mouthing of “bullshit.” They’re still associating change with Shane McMahon, even though there’s no noticeable difference in the overall product.

Shane is indeed announced as running Smackdown Live, and Stephanie is running the “3 hour flagship of WWE.” Way to bury the second live show before it even gets going. Vince wants them to compete in every facet, even possibly breaking the law as long as they don’t get caught. It’s probably why he hasn’t disowned Jimmy Snuka. The catch comes in that both Shane and Stephanie need to announce General Managers for their respective shows next week. So not only are we going to get inter-McMahon conflict, but probably more office politics betwixt owner and management on the two shows. Stephanie gets to slap Shane to cement the McMahon emasculation sweep.

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