A 205 Live debut, a newsworthy RAW and a loaded episode of the Mae Young Classic are just some of the many highlights from this week in the WWE
Monday Night RAW
Turn! Turn! Turn!
Monday Night Raw this week saw 4 turns and a tease of 3/4 more. One way for Raw to keep interest up is to freshen up characters regularly, something they can go too long without. Bobby Lashley and Lio Rush turning heel was the right step as it plays even more to the strengths of both men. It will also help wash the bad taste of face Lashley from fan’s mouths. The Bella’s are always better as heels and after the Liv Morgan incident, it was going to be hard to get people to cheer Brie or Nikki. Teasing more turns keeps people coming back as we all want to be watching when a major turn happens.
Forget the DX comeback for a minute and focus on the content of Shawn Michaels’ promo. Doing his best Hideo Itami impression Shawn was angry that he stayed retired out of respect for the Undertaker. What he realized at SSD is that The Undertaker does not respect Michaels in the same way. With this bond of respect broken Michaels is ready to come out of retirement and take on The Brothers Of Destruction and maybe set up a final rematch with The Undertaker.
Two matches become one as Alexa Bliss and Mickie James tried to intimidate Trish Stratus. Stratus was ready for them and had help waiting, her arch-rival Lita. This led to the announcement that the previously announced Alexa vs Trish and Lita vs Mickie matches became a tag match. It’s only right with their history that James and Stratus share a ring one more time anyway. For Lita and Trish, it is also better to have them in tag team matches as neither has had a high profile singles match in a decade. For any Ruthless Aggression era fans, it is very cool to see two rivals that proved what women’s wrestling could be in the WWE teaming up.
Ember Moon vs Nia Jax
One thing I love in wrestling is a nice short match. This Jax vs Moon match was 3 minutes long and had some cool spots. A minor positive but something I personally enjoy in wrestling.
While it is a little silly to think that this segment ended up with English getting hacked this is only a midcard feud so silliness is allowed. English did a great job with this whole storyline and shined on the mic every time. With the intentionally bad footage and good heeling, this has done its job in entertaining the fans and making me want to see Rusev beat English
The Miz trying to stir the pot but ultimately having the faces get under his skin with their insults is a good precursor to his (almost certain) interference in the Styles vs Bryan feud. Bryan and Styles also did a good job in building the tension but never letting things get out of hand. Two babyfaces in a dream match doesn’t need intricate storytelling so more of this will keep interest in their feud ticking over.
Burning Up In Their Love
Mike and Maria Kanellis made their 205 Live debuts to attack Lince Dorado. It is always a good thing to see someone finally getting TV time that isn’t Main Event. 205 Live is a workrate show so I expect Mike to play a similar character to his Ring of Honor days and be the sports entertainer among the pro wrestlers. We can also look forward to the series of matches he will probably have with the Lucha House Party who always deliver.
Tomasso Ciampa, Velveteen Dream and Nikki Cross sharing a ring can only end well. Dream and Ciampa accusing each other of attacking Black continues the mystery and builds the grudge between the two as we head to an assumed title match between the two. There were also some SHOTS F**CKING FIRED as Ciampa questioned if Dream was “Tough Enough”. The segment got even better when Cross arrived and told both Dream and Ciampa that she knows what they did. She also smacked Ciampa’s mic out of his hand to a big pop as she looked like a crazy badass who doesn’t care about repercussions. A great start to the show featuring three of NXT’s strongest characters.
Ohno wants the Bro
This is a good way to debut Matt Riddle. With Keith Lee currently in jobber squashing mode it would slightly hurt both men if Riddle was on NXT doing the same. Instead, we see Ohno given a direction and an attitude as he calls out Riddle. When Riddle does debut to beat Ohno it will mean more than if he were winning squash matches.
Mae Young Classic
Now that we are getting deeper into the tournament there are no more filler matches. This weeks show was unbelievably stacked as we had Io Shirai, Mia Yim, Deonna Purazzo and Tegan Nox in action. This gave us 4 great matches with some of the tournament’s most popular names as the MYC delivered it’s best show to date.
For someone that has only one year of experience, Xia Li has become a really good wrestler. She looks comfortable in the ring and proved with this weeks match that she can have longer matches with clear psychology. If Triple H’s territory system comes to fruition Xia Li could be a star of NXT Asia or with more time to grow could become a key roster member on proper NXT. I have become a big fan of Li in this tournament and can’t wait to see where she goes from here.