NOVEMBER 24, 2019

Watch: WWE Network


  • Sean Sedor: It’s Night 2 of big WWE show reviews for Sean. After not doing much for the site in October, he’s certainly making up for lost time in November! You can follow him on Twitter @SASedor2994, and you can check out his Extreme Warfare: Revenge diary (where he takes over WCW in 1998) on the Voices Of Wrestling Forums at this link.
  • Steve Case: Since jumping back into the review game with Takeover last night, Steve just couldn’t get enough WWE reviews! Here’s hoping he doesn’t regret it. Follow him @coachcase44
  • John Carroll: Are you surprised to see John’s name here? Well, they are hosting a WWE Year in Review 2019 episode of Wrestling Omakase (@wrestleomakase) next weekend and figure they should actually try watching some 2019 WWE as a result. Follow them on Twitter @toshanshuinla. Also they refuse to watch the pre-show, that’s for psychopaths.

Cross Brand Tag Team Battle Royal
Winners: Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode

Sean: I had no idea the pre-show was starting so early. I was busy playing NASCAR Heat 4, and then WWE just decides to add three matches to this freaking kickoff show. Anyway, this was just your typical WWE battle royal, but with tag teams. Dolph Ziggler insisted on wearing a blue SmackDown cap during the first few minutes of the match, for some reason. Nobody is wearing their brand T-Shirts either, which was a pleasant surprise, I guess? All three NXT teams (Forgotten Sons, Breezango, and Imperium) were some of the first teams eliminated, so NXT is off to a great start tonight. It came down to Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode vs. The Street Profits, and the heels got the win for SmackDown. Just an excuse to get people on the card. Rating: **

NXT Cruiserweight Title
Lio Rush © def. Akira Tozawa & Kalisto

Sean: So this is actually a brand vs. brand vs. brand match, as Lio Rush is on NXT, Tozawa is on RAW, and Kalisto is on SmackDown. I wouldn’t kill you if you didn’t know what brand Tozawa was on, because with so many people signed to this company, who even knows anymore? This had a ton of potential on paper, and it ended up being a very good match. Look, it’s hard to care about anything that happens on these Kickoff Show, but there were three extremely talented wrestlers involved in this one, so it was going to be hard for it not to be good. There was really solid action throughout, and while Kalisto and Tozawa both got chances to shine here, Lio Rush ultimately retained after pinning Kalisto. An entertaining triple threat match, and no T-Shirts! I hope the lack of brand laundry carries over to the main show. Rating: ***1/2 

RAW Tag Team Champions The Viking Raiders def. SmackDown Tag Team Champions The New Day & NXT Tag Team Champions The Undisputed Era

Sean: It’s a real shame that this got pushed to the Kickoff Show, as all three teams are very good. The match started with one person from each team in the ring, so I presume that’s how the Survivor Series Elimination Tags will work later on. Much like the triple threat involving the Cruiserweights that came before it, this featured some very good action with all three teams getting their moments throughout. Again, given who was involved, it was going to be hard for this match not to be solid, at the very least. New Day fell out of contention after Kofi smashed his leg on the ring post after a failed Trouble In Paradise attempt. It came down to Fish & O’Reilly vs. The Viking Raiders, and the latter were able to get the win after a Hanson comeback (I refuse to call him Ivar). A very enjoyable match. Like I already said, you can’t go wrong with these three teams. Each brand has one victory apiece going in the PPV. Rating: ***3/4 

Women’s Survivor Series Elimination MatchTeam NXT (Rhea Ripley, Bianca Belair, Candice LeRae, Io Shirai, & Toni Storm) def. Team RAW (Charlotte Flair, Asuka, Kairi Sane, Natalya, & Sarah Logan) & Team SmackDown (Sasha Banks, Carmella, Dana Brooke, Lacey Evans, & Nikki Cross)

Sean: It seemed like that Tegan Nox and Mia Yim were going to be on this team, but after what happened with them on TakeOver, Team Captain Rhea Ripley decided to replace them with….two women that she just went to war with the night before? Ok then. Also, LOL at WWE pulling Toni Storm off today’s PROGRESS show at the last minute to be here (but BritWres is fine, Pete Dunne says!). Anyway, the good news is that nobody is wearing the stupid brand T-Shirts, so it’s nice to see that carried over from the Kickoff Show. All three teams entering to the respective show’s theme songs? Eh, that’s not so good. The crowd seemed dead during the first portion of the match, aside from a few spots (Io and Kairi going at it, Rhea getting tagged into the match). We then got two “eliminations”, as both Io Shirai and Candice LeRae were mysterious injured. Everything just came to a halt as the two of them were taken away. Was this legit, or was it just some contrived WWE booking to get people out of the match without beating them? Who knows with this company.

The action resumes and the crowd is back to being mostly dead. Bianca got some shine at this point, as she scored two straight eliminations (Nikki Cross and Sarah Logan). We got a bunch of quick eliminations. Charlotte pinned Carmella. Sasha pinned Kairi, who was herself trying to pin Toni Storm after hitting her big Elbow Drop. Why did Sasha break up the pin?!?! Dana Brooke got eliminated by Asuka, and we got the dreaded team dissension on Team RAW, with Asuka spitting the green mist in Charlotte’s face. Asuka then just left the match without ever getting pinned or submitted, and then Lacey Evans picked up the pieces to get the pin (Gotta love this WCW booking!). Natalya then eliminated Evans, and suddenly, NXT had a massive advantage. Sasha and Natalya then worked together to eliminate Storm and Belair, making it a three-way with Sasha, Natalya, and Rhea. It came down to Sasha vs. Rhea, but then Io and Candice suddenly reappeared, showing no signs of injury! Was this whole thing a ruse? They helped Rhea gain the edge, and she hit the Rip Tide on Sasha for the win. A big weekend for Rhea, as she pinned Shayna Baszler to win WarGames last night, and was the sole survivor here.

The match itself had a few decent spots, but for the most part, it was filled with hilariously bad booking when it came to the eliminations. We had some people carried away with fake injuries (only to return later), teammates turning on each other, people just leaving the match without being pinned or submitted. Look, if you want don’t want certain people to get pinned, then why are they even in the match in the first place?! Even with the crazy three team format, booking a match properly shouldn’t be this hard. Then again, this is WWE we’re talking about, so should we be surprised? This was marginally better than the battle royal. Rating: **1/4 

Steve: Entering to the show themes sucks. So great start! NXT women are clearly the crowd favorites here, despite a lot of the star power. And my god, how STACKED is this company with top tier women? 

That said, this was an absolute mess. It was sloppy and clunky and really weird. It looked like a match that sounded cool on paper until you realize there’s FIFTEEN people in it. 

To focus on the positives. Io vs. Kairi has to happen. Their interaction was tremendous. Bianca got some significant shine and was able to hit her beautiful 450 splash. Asuka looked like a badass and didn’t get pinned. And they are clearly strapping the rocket to Rhea, and rightfully so. 

But this had no flow and didn’t make much sense. Candice and Io getting “injured” only to come back at the end when it’s Rhea against Sasha, a matchup the crowd seemed super into, to interfere on Rhea’s behalf?  Wouldn’t you want Rhea to have the crowd behind her, instead of confused? The crowd still went nuts for the big NXT win, but man, getting there was rough. Rating: **1/4

John: Love that everyone is just coming out to their show themes, making them look like giant geeks (at least they’re not all wearing t-shirts I guess). Great start there. The fans also lightly booed when “Team SmackDown” and “Team RAW” were announced while NXT got cheered a little, though honestly not nearly as loudly as I expected. The Io and Asuka staredown at the start was awesome; if you’re wondering, this was the first time they’ve been in the ring together since September 2011. I’m reminded yet again as this match and show started to a dead crowd that main roster WWE crowds are the worst in the entire fucking world. Are people just used to these awful, awful, awful crowds now? Do they think this is what wrestling crowds are supposed to sound like? The crowd woke up a little when Io and Kairi tagged in together (along with, uh, Carmella sure). Dana Brooke tried to break up a pinfall which made no sense, why would you stop someone from eliminating one of your opponents? Io Shirai and Candice suddenly left with injuries, I assume that was a work but who knows (it was, as we later learned). So we never even got an Io-Asuka showdown and Io was in the match for like five seconds, wonderful. Love that WWE. God this is just so boring, nothing is happening and no one is making any noise. Bianca Belair nailed Sarah Logan with a forearm and hit a decent 450 splash to eliminate her and the fans gave her the equivalent of a golf clap. This is CHICAGO. I think the camera just cut about seven times while Charlotte hit a single big boot on Bianca and now you can hear a pin drop again. I can’t believe people like this shit. Carmella hit a top rope rana on Charlotte, onto Bianca, which finally got the crowd to wake up for like half a second before they went right back to being silent again. 

Suddenly Toni Storm, Sasha Banks and Kairi Sane were all in the ring together and this briefly turned into a joshi match as they beat the shit out of each other for thirty seconds or so. Asuka came in after her partner Kairi was eliminated and kept the momentum up, until Charlotte and Asuka started fighting as teammates which ground things to a halt again. Asuka then misted her own partner and walked out, which was obviously supposed to be a heel move but the crowd popped huge because no one likes Charlotte! We ended up with a 3-on-1-on-1 advantage for NXT, but Sasha and Natalya worked together to eliminate Toni Storm and then Bianca, leaving us with those two and Rhea Ripley as the final three. Sasha of course immediately turned on Natalya and eliminated her which was hilarious, although I’m not sure that was a great plan since it left her 1-on-1 with Rhea. The crowd finally got into the match here with a dueling chant for both ladies. Sasha used a Meteora off the top but Rhea kicked out. She went for another Meteora that honestly looked kinda silly, as she basically jumped short on purpose so Rhea could kick her “in mid-air”. Rhea and Sasha then traded submissions until Io and Candice suddenly ran back out for NXT and broke up the Bank Statement, leading to Rhea hitting the Riptide for the pin. This was very long and mostly very boring, but at least Rhea and Sasha had a real fun last few minutes that saved it to some degree (although the ending with Io and Candice running back out made it feel cheap). Rating: **1/4 

NXT North American Champion Roderick Strong def. WWE United States Champion AJ Styles & WWE Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura (with Sami Zayn)

Sean: Going in, I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this match. On paper, it had the makings to be a strong triple threat, considering the wrestlers who were involved (imagine if this match happened in 2014/2015). Then again, Nakamura and Styles haven’t exactly been killing it on the main roster in the last year or two. This got off to a decent start, but then they slowed the match down to an absolute crawl when Styles got Strong in a sleeper/choke hold. I don’t know why you would do that with a crowd that has already shown signs of not being that receptive, but hey, that’s WWE for you! Fortunately, the pace picked back up again when Strong went back on the offensive. All three guys went on exchange moves and nearfalls, and eventually, Strong got the win for NXT after stealing the pin from Styles, who had just hit Nakamura with the Phenomenal Forearm. This followed the pattern established by the triple threat matches on the kickoff show. Really good action throughout, but in front of a crowd that didn’t react to much of what was happening. It seemed like Roderick Strong was the one that kept this match interesting, which isn’t much of a shock….he’s Roderick Strong! There were a couple of cool spots in this one, and as a whole, it was pretty fun to watch. Not outstanding by any means, but a very solid triple threat match. With Strong’s win, NXT now leads the scoreboard with three wins, while RAW and SmackDown only have one each. Rating: ***1/2 

Steve: This ended up being about as good as possible given where AJ and Nak are in their careers, and the credit goes to Roddy. His offense really jumped off the page and injected the energy needed in this match. Nak controlled a lot of the beginning of this and his strikes actually looked pretty strong and had some motivation behind them. AJ played his part fairly well, as I’m sure the springboard into the kick from Nak was as good a callback to his other, much more famous three way 40-year-old AJ could do. Super happy for Roddy getting the win here. He needed it the most. This was much better than what the crowd gave it. This crowd couldn’t have cared less. Bet they are a lot hotter Wednesday. Rating: ***1/2

John: The fact that they destroyed the best theme song they did in a million years because they were mad fans still hummed it after Shinsuke turned heel will never not be hilarious. Somehow it didn’t hit me until just now that we’re revisiting 2018’s most disappointing feud, AJ vs. Shinsuke in the Battle To See Who’s Fallen Off From Their New Japan Days More (Nak won, I guess). Whew, thank god Michael Cole told me which one was Nakamura at the start, I’d never have figured that one out on my own. All three dudes did some cool moves at the start (mainly Nak’s kicks and knees and Strong’s backbreakers) and the crowd gave them absolutely nothing, of course. This quickly slowed down into rest holds, and frankly I can’t blame the competitors- why kill yourselves for no reaction? Fuck these crowds, if they’re not gonna react to your moves just lay there in a headlock and see how they like that. It picked up again after that and really got quite good again, though the crowd still didn’t give a fuck. Hilariously there was a brief and very faint “all these guys” chant before they just went silent again, as if they’re somehow reading my complaints as I type them and insulting me with a token reaction. But then the match weirdly fell apart after a pretty cool spot where Strong broke up the Styles Clash with a sick kick, as they just kinda did nothing for a while. We eventually got a doomsday device spot where Shinsuke hit a flying kick instead of a clothesline, but Nak accidentally landed on Roderick’s knee coming down which looked like it sucked. Nakamura used a Go 2 Sleep on Strong, which of course lead to a CM Punk chant (although it was a lot fainter than you might have expected, as apparently even HE isn’t over in Chicago tonight!). Styles made the save after Nak hit the Boma Ye (no I’m not gonna look up the WWE name, who cares) and then we got a Styles-Nak face-off as the announcers weirdly kept talking about all their “history in Japan”, which is strange considering they feuded for far longer in WWE last year! Strong finally came back in after Styles hit the Phenomenal Forearm on Nakamura and tossed him out of the ring, pinning Nak. Yes, the ultra-cliche “third guy runs in after a finisher, tosses the guy out and steals the pin” finish, you knew we would see it at least once tonight. Anyway, this was actually pretty fun a lot of the way, though the crowd gave them absolutely nothing and it dragged a bit at the end. Still, better than I was expecting for sure. Rating: ***1/2 

NXT Title
Adam Cole © def. Pete Dunne

Sean: Pete Dunne earned this title shot after winning a triple threat match at NXT TakeOver (yes, yet another triple threat match on this weekend). It’s pretty crazy that Cole is wrestling tonight after taking that nasty bump off the top of the cage, courtesy of Tommaso Ciampa. At least he’s got his ribs taped up. Dunne also has his left knee taped up, so I guess he got a little hurt last night as well. The big question for me was how good this was going to be after what these two went through the night before. Both men targeted each other’s injuries right away, which makes sense from a storytelling standpoint. These guys were working hard, but for the first 2/3rds of this match (which included kickouts of both Cole’s Last Shot and Dunne’s Bitter End), the Chicago crowd was pretty much dead. Finally, after a couple of high spots (specifically, Cole countering a Dunne moonsault with a superkick and Cole hitting Dunne with the Panama Sunrise on the apron). I think we’ve cracked the code with these dead WWE crowds. They want nothing but highspots. They got one more big one to close the match, as Cole countered the Bitter End with the Panama Sunrise, and pinned Dunne moments later after another Last Shot. Even with the dead crowd for the first 2/3rds, the work throughout was still very strong, and the final two or three minutes were great. Rating: ***3/4 

Steve: WWE has destroyed crowds. They were dead as a doornail for the first half of this match. These two being as good as they are, got them back into it by the end and had a very good match. 

It started as both worked on each other’s damaged areas from the night before, which might as well have been Cole’s entire body, but ended up just being his ribs and wrist. They went through the motions a bit, but from these two, even that is better than most. Plus, given what Cole went through last night, I don’t blame him for going easier. The finish saw Cole hit a Panama Sunrise on the apron and Dunne made it to the ring at 9.5. Dunne then broke Cole’s fingers and tried for a bitter end that Cole countered wonderfully into a destroyer. He then hit the Last Shot and got the win. This was a great way to elevate Cole. I hope he gets something real significant after this last week. Rating: ***1/2

John: They replayed Adam Cole’s absolutely ridiculous bump off the top of the cage and through two tables from LAST NIGHT, and yes this man was back to wrestle another match tonight. Please tell me more about how dangerous Japanese wrestling is, though! At least Naito and Ibushi had the night off the day after Dominion. If your idea of a good time is two guys attacking each other’s obvious injuries in a slow and boring fashion in front of a dead crowd, boy was the start of this match for you. And if you ever wanted to hear what the sound of approximately seven people doing a dueling chant in a crowd of 13,000 sounds like, you found out during this match. They finally got the crowd to make a little noise by literally beating the piss out of each other with slaps, chops, and a kick to the face during a moonsault. Cole then hit the Panama Sunrise on the apron which again got a reaction, because all WWE crowds care about now are Cool Moves™. Dunne recovered almost immediately when they rolled back in, which is hilariously stupid, and then after a finger snap (yes, we went from a flipping piledriver on the apron to a FINGER SNAP SPOT, real logical progression there) we get one final counter with Cole hitting another Panama Sunrise and then the Last Shot for the pin. The last few minutes are probably going to trick some folks into thinking this was a great match, but it was boring horseshit most of the way and the ending made no sense. Rating: **

WWE Universal Title
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt © def. Daniel Bryan

Sean: Oh boy. They’re putting The Fiend in the middle of the show. I’m very intrigued to see what this match does to the crowd, and how they are after the fact (assuming we get the red lighting, which….*sigh*….we do). Bryan went after Bray right away, but Bray quickly gained control. After getting beaten up for a few minutes, Bryan managed to fight with some flying dropkicks and a big dive from the top rope to the floor. This comeback actually woke the crowd up (despite the red lighting), and we got massive “Yes!” chants. Bryan did everything he could, with various kicks, knees, and an armbar, but Wyatt ultimately used the Mandible Claw to pin him. Daniel Bryan is an absolute miracle worker. I had fears we were in for another trainwreck of a Fiend match, but Bryan got this Chicago crowd into the match, red lighting be damned. I’m sure the crowd would’ve exploded if Bryan actually won the title here, but alas, they’re really pushing The Fiend, so he was always going to win in the end. This was nowhere near their Royal Rumble match from a number of years ago, but it wouldn’t shock me if this ends up being the best match that this incarnation of the Bray Wyatt character has ever had. Rating: ***1/4 

Steve: LADY IN REEEEEEEEEDDDDDD. Imagine the crowd pop they’d get if the match started with regular lighting. The Fiend might actually ascend…..

Daniel Bryan, all-time performer, babyface, and beloved crowd favorite, got the crowd rowdy and behind him against the evil and nefarious Fiend. Whoda thunk it? He also pulled another good match out of Bray. Not quite to the level of their great Royal Rumble encounter from a few years ago, but Bray’s current state wouldn’t allow that kind of match. Bryan got some great offense in and really took it to the Fiend for a lot of this match. Probably for the best because the crowd was silent in the early portions when The Fiend was on offense. In the end, the Fiend popped up after Bryan’s knee, put on the mandible claw, and pinned Bryan. I don’t know who else could have a good match like that with this character. Rating: ***1/2

John: (To the tune of “The Elite chant”) The, the Fiend, the the the Fiend. I love how the pre-match package tried to make sense out of Daniel Bryan’s ridiculous turns and character changes. It failed, of course, because nothing Bryan’s character has done since losing the title to Kofi has made even the tiniest bit of sense. Corey Graves actually yelled “YOU CAN’T SOLVE THE FIEND!” at one point which was funny. It’s just funny to say “The Fiend” out loud in general, you should try it sometime if you haven’t already. More unintentional hilarity: Bray started yelling “REMEMBER ME!” over and over, which sounded real funny muffled through that stupid mask. This was a real change of pace from the last few matches where no one cared and the crowd made no noise most of the way- this time, no one cared and the crowd made no noise UNDER SPOOKY RED LIGHTS. Bryan finally made something of a comeback including a great dive all the way to the floor from the top rope, which got the crowd to give what you would call a polite reaction in nearly any other promotion but is practically a standing ovation by the standards of this show. The yes kicks then got the biggest reaction of anything all night, but the Fiend kept no-selling them. The crowd started going wild for Bryan with an absolutely enormous Yes chant, making even more of a mockery of the fact that they ever turned this man heel. Since this is 2019 WWE and they will do everything in their power to make sure you the fan aren’t happy, Bryan immediately got put in the Mandible Claw and pinned clean. This I guess wasn’t as bad as it could have been since Bryan is still really great and all that, but perhaps the most important takeaway is that the crowd already couldn’t give less of a shit about The Fiend. Rating: ***

Men’s Survivor Series Elimination Match
Team SmackDown (Roman Reigns, Braun Strowman, King Corbin, Mustafa Ali, & Shorty G) def. Team RAW (Seth Rollins, Drew McIntyre, Kevin Owens, Randy Orton, & Ricochet) & Team NXT (Tommaso Ciampa, Keith Lee, Matt Riddle, Damien Priest, & WWE UK Champion WALTER)

Sean: So I just realized that RAW and SmackDown can’t win this whole series anymore. With NXT on three wins, the best they can do is tie, so it’s already over. They can tie, but they can’t win! On paper, this should be better than the Women’s Elimination Match, but with the way that match was booked, all bets are off. We got some decently loud chants for WALTER at the start. There was some fun hoss action early with Strowman, McIntyre, and WALTER, but then McIntyre pins WALTER out of nowhere with the Claymore Kick for the first elimination!! The crowd boos loudly (followed up by some “bullshit” chants) as WALTER is treated like an absolute geek. Gable was the next elimination after getting pinned by Kevin Owens. They were still teasing whether Owens was truly on RAW’s side, or if he was with NXT (he had the option to splash Ciampa instead, but chose Gable). Owens went right after Reigns and Corbin, who were bickering, but Ciampa took advantage quickly and pinned Owens after a draping DDT (well, so much for getting a ton of follow up with the Owens story). Orton then hit some RKO’s, first on Ciampa, and then on Damien Priest, who did absolutely nothing in the entire match. Priest was just there to eat a RKO and get pinned. Wonderful.

Orton was then rolled up by Riddle for an elimination, which got a big pop, but then Orton hit the RKO on Riddle, which left him prone for Corbin to pick up the pieces for the elimination. Another example of why nobody truly gets over with WWE main roster booking. Strowman then ran around the ring doing his shoulder blocks, but then Keith Lee took him out to a big reaction from the crowd. This led to the tradition “Braun Strowman gets eliminated by count out” spot, because that’s what happens every time Strowman is in a Survivor Series Elimination Match. He either wins, or gets eliminated by count out. Ricochet got some brief shine before Corbin pinned him. Mustafa Ali then got some shine, but after Corbin argued with him, he was easily eliminated by Rollins. That elimination led to the biggest “CM Punk” chant of the night. Reigns then eliminated McIntrye, which meant that Rollins was the only one left on his team. Reigns then took out Corbin, and allowed Ciampa to eliminate him. At this point, it basically turned into The Shield vs. Keith Lee & Ciampa. Rollins had a fun exchange with Ciampa until Rollins got some help from Roman to eliminate Ciampa.

This left it as Rollins vs. Reigns vs. Keith Lee. The crowd exploded when Lee pinned Rollins after hitting Ground Zero. This led to a great exchange between Reigns and Lee, and after some close nearfalls, Reigns ultimately got the victory for Team SmackDown. There’s no question that this was miles better than the women’s match, from an in-ring standpoint. The booking with the eliminations was mostly crap, but the wrestling throughout was still pretty good. Even though he lost in the end, the big winner from this match was Keith Lee, who really looked like a superstar in that closing stretch. It should be interesting to see how NXT follows that up. If they don’t, it’s an absolute travesty. If the booking was better, this would’ve easily cracked **** for me, but alas, it falls just short of that mark for me. Rating: ***3/4

Steve: MORE SHOW THEMES! Whoever had this idea needs to be thrown to the wolves. The crowd loves Owens and hates Smackdown. I would too coming out to bad new AC/DC. WALTER should come out to nothing but classical music. This is a disgrace. 

This match was WWE in a nutshell. The action in this match was next-level great. They have the most talented roster ever and they let many of them go out and do their thing. But as is the case with WWE, their agenda and booking gets in the way. They could have made WALTER into a huge deal. He looked GREAT in the mini three-way with Strowman and Drew. The crowd was loving him, then he eats a Claymore kick and gets pinned clean as a sheet. Ali gets things rolling and the crowd loves him, then gets taken out by Seth. Ricochet gets some things rolling only to get pinned by Corbin. Drew, Owens,  and Riddle are eliminated unceremoniously. No one is allowed to really get over. Now, if they get really behind Keith Lee, which they absolutely should, he can be a mega star. That spirit bomb got me out of my seat. But in the end, it’s about Roman. It’s always about Roman. This truly was the best and worst of WWE. Supremely talented wrestlers held down by extremely incompetent booking. This is a hard match to rate, but I did truly enjoy the tremendous action. Rating: ****

John: Hell yeah back to geeks coming out to show themes! The crowd still made sure to boo Seth Rollins leading Team RAW out even though he didn’t even have his own theme music, which is real dedication on their part. Owens got an actual crowd pop when he climbed to the top rope, so I fully expect him to be the first RAW guy out of here (I promise I typed that in real time lol). Those “SD” armbands made me think they’re fighting for SD Gundam. WALTER was extremely over, which makes sense since he’s quite good and all. Of course since this is WWE they put him in there with Braun so he could look less physically impressive, and then immediately had him get pinned clean by Drew McIntyre which the crowd took a giant shit on. Sorry folks, I don’t know what company you thought you bought a ticket to but this is World Wrestling Entertainment baby. Shorty G got to lay on the mat for five years like a geek while Owens decided who to hit a frog splash on, and then immediately take said frog splash and get pinned, as that push really just keeps going into the stratosphere. But then my prediction came true as Owens immediately got pinned by Ciampa, because of course he did. Matt Riddle rolled up Orton and spent ten years celebrating with a BRO chant, standing there like a complete moron while Orton snuck back up on him and hit the RKO so he too could get pinned. This is like some kind of Vince McMahon competition to see which internet fave he can bury the most, and frankly I’m kind of enjoying it. You get what you deserve when you stan WWE. Braun ran over everyone on the floor in a pretty cool little bit but ate a Claymore kick from Drew and got counted out. Ricochet did a few cool flips but then got pinned clean by KING CORBIN with the END OF DAYS or whatever the fuck it’s called, which you know got a nice little chuckle from Vince. 

Seth pinned Ali after he and Corbin got into it and my Network feed briefly cut out here (never happens to me with any other streaming services by the way!) so I may have missed something. When it came back I saw Roman spear Drew to eliminate him, apparently leaving us with Seth for RAW, Roman & Corbin for Smackdown and Ciampa & Lee for NXT. My Network feed cut out AGAIN, but I didn’t seem to miss much as I came back right in time to see Roman spear his own partner and send Corbin packing. Roman and Seth started double teaming Ciampa and then Lee, getting booed in the process. Seth and Roman then took forever to set up a double powerbomb on Ciampa through the table, while the referee weirdly didn’t count anyone out despite having just counted Braun out earlier. Keith Lee ran in to make the save at the last second however and Ciampa and Seth ended up back in the ring. Ciampa looked like he was going to eliminate Seth when Roman ran in and saved his ex-Shield partner, leading to Seth pinning Ciampa to a chorus of boos. So that meant it was Seth, Roman and Keith as the last three, and the crowd immediately started singing for Keith. Seth started yelling about how he was going to burn down NXT (because he built it, you see), only to run into Keith’s arms and get pinned. I laughed pretty hard, Seth is the biggest dork of all time. So we were down to Roman and Keith. Roman hit two superman punches for a very, very close nearfall. Keith caught Roman when he was trying for the spear and hit a giant powerbomb for two in probably the best spot of the night so far, but missed a moonsault and got speared by Roman for the pin. The end of this was honestly incredible, and proof that we need a Roman vs. Keith singles match like tomorrow (I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for one, of course). The rest of it was a mix of hilariously stupid booking decisions and pretty good action, and it mostly worked as a spotfest. Best thing on the show so far. Rating: ***3/4

WWE Title – No Holds Barred
Brock Lesnar © def. Rey Mysterio

Sean: This match has easily had the best build out of anything on this entire show. Brock Lesnar beat up Rey Mysterio and Rey’s son Dominick multiple times, Rey got super pissed, beat up Brock with a lead pipe on RAW, and now he wants to take the WWE Title as revenge. Simple and effective! Mysterio came out dressed as Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker and got a ton of pyro. As soon as the bell rang, Mysterio went for the lead pipe, and dared Brock to fight him, but it didn’t work out well, as Lesnar just smashed him. Mysterio tried to go for the lead pipe, but Lesnar just german suplexed him a bunch of times. At this point, Dominick came out and tried to throw in the towel (clearly they got that idea from AEW), but that allowed Mysterio to hit Brock with a low blow! Dominick hit a low blow, double 619 from both Mysterio and Dominick, big splash off the top rope by Dominick, and the crowd would’ve exploded if that was the finish. Alas, Brock kicked out, hit both of them with F5’s, and pinned Mysterio to retain. That was absolutely tremendous. Part of my wishes they would’ve called an audible and let Mysterio win, but Lesnar retaining was never really in doubt, I suppose. This was just awesome on every level. If you are one of those people who hates Brock for some reason, I don’t know what to tell you. He’s still great. This was the match of the night thus far, and it wasn’t particularly close. Rating: ****1/2 

Steve: This started with Rey going right for the pipe, but Brock thwarting it and toying with Rey for the next several minutes. Dominick then ran down and teased throwing in the towel (take THAT AEW), but Brock had none of it. Then Rey hit Brock with a low blow followed by Dominick. Rey then laid that pipe in on Lesnar. In a spot I’m sure Rey will remember the rest of his life, he and his son hit Brock with dual 619s and top rope splashes. Brock kicked out leading to another splash attempt from both, which Brock stopped by killing Dominick with a German and catching Rey into an F5 for the pin. 

This was different than most Brock matches as it wasn’t just a spam of germans. I don’t normally like run ins, but it made sense to the story. This was short, sweet and to the point. Very good stuff. Rating: ***3/4

John: This match started with Brock utterly destroying a Joker mask-wearing Rey Mysterio, as I honestly got a little distracted by the NJPW Collection mobile game finally dropping (gacha gacha gacha!!!). I got Naito and Hiromu in my first ten draws so all is right in the world honestly. Anyway, after Brock killed Rey for a while his son ran in with a towel to try and beg for his father’s life. Brock hilariously took the towel and threw it away, then grabbed Dominick by the throat until Mysterio gave him a low blow from behind. The kid gave him one too and Mysterio then beat the shit out of Brock with a lead pipe. Dominick came in armed with a chair and then they hit a double 619 on Brock as the crowd went crazy. See they CAN make noise when they actually care about what’s unfolding, how about that? Brock quickly recovered and hit the F5 to retain, however. Anyway, the little Mysterio and Dominick bit was fun and it was nice to hear this crowd actually give a sustained roar for something. Not an all time classic or anything but good for what it was. If the Brock beatdown had been a little more interesting I could see going ****+, but as it is I still enjoyed myself. Rating: ***1/2

NXT Women’s Champion Shayna Baszler def. RAW Women’s Champion Becky Lynch & SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley

Sean: Coming in, I thought it would’ve been a good call to put this match as the main event, as it was the most anticipated match on the show outside of Lesnar/Mysterio. However, the crowd was very much dead for the majority of this bout. The worked was decent, for the most part (Bayley had a couple of rough moments), but this crowd just didn’t care. They started chanting for CM Punk at one point, which just shows you how much they were into it. A bunch of stuff happened, nobody really cared, and then Shayna just….tapped out Bayley out of nowhere. Becky wasn’t even involved in the decision. I would say this was better than the Women’s Elimination Match, but not by much. At the very least, this didn’t have all the dumb booking that match had. This was just an ok match that had little to no heat. The biggest pop from this whole thing came when Becky put Shayna through one of the announce tables after the fact. This wasn’t a good match, and as a whole, it was a really disappointing night for the women. Neither match delivered on any level. In other news, NXT ends the night with four wins to SmackDown’s two wins and RAW’s one win. Clearly they were put over strong here in an attempt to boost NXT TV on Wednesday Nights in any way possible. It’ll be fascinating to see if the fallout from this PPV leads to a big rating for them this week. Rating: **½

Steve: The women have been a major positive for this company for about a year and a half two years now. I might argue that they have been the best part of this company. This match came in with a ton of hype and intrigue. Becky is maybe the biggest star in the company, Shayna is the boss of the NXT women, and Bayley’s heel turn and attacks have added a little extra. But this match….was pretty bad. It was duller than dull, had no flow or chemistry, and they did really nothing of substance. You’d think it was leading to maybe a huge Ronda return, but we didn’t even get that. I will say, Shayna winning was an ambitious choice and NXT winning overall was a nice touch, but this match was just bad. Becky attacked Shayna after the match because no one can truly get a one up on anyone in this company. Like I said, the women have been great for a long time now, but this was not their night. Rating: *3/4

John: And we’re back to the crowd not caring moments after they went wild for the last match, which somehow makes this dead crowd sound even deader. The big Bayley-Becky showdown had no heat at all and frankly wasn’t all that interesting either, and Shayna did very little at the start as well. The crowd was quiet enough that you could hear one fan yelling BORING. I really can’t disagree with that one guy, as this match really was quite boring for a good long while. Frankly this just seemed like it was dragging on and on without much of anything interesting happening, so for once I can’t really blame the live crowd for not being into it at all. Shayna finally just tapped out Bayley after what felt like approximately fifteen years of boring nothingness. A bad way to end what had been a pretty good show (especially on the sliding 2019 WWE scale) up until this point. After the match Becky laid out Shayna with a leg drop through the table, I guess just to make sure she doesn’t get anything out of that win. Rating: *½