By Big Red Machine
From October 06, 2018
WWE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The New Day(c) (w/Big E.) vs. Sheamus & Cesaro- 6.25/10
A fine opener. New Day now has a finisher for their non- Big E. combination, and it looks pretty cool.
WWE SMACKDOWN WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH:
Becky Lynch(c) vs. Charlotte Flair- 6.5/10
They each worked their respective body part of choice. Charlotte was about to win when Becky got herself disqualified. Charlotte started a post-match brawl which Becky won handily with a suplex on the floor and then a running knee to the head. The crowd has been really into both matches so far. Hopefully the f*ck finish doesn't change that.
KEVIN OWENS & THE DRIFTER SING - There was no singing, but there was entirely too much guitar playing. They did the usual stuff. It wasn't as entertaining as these have been in the past.
JOHN CENA & BOBBY LASHLEY vs. "THE DRIFTER" ELIAS SAMPSON & KEVIN OWENS- 6/10
No Lio Rush out here with Lashley even though he has been involved in just about all of these segments and they're trying to push them as a unit on Raw.
Lashley was the babyface in peril. Cena got the hot tag and wound up pinning Elias. Not bad, but not particularly interesting or great, either. At least not in the match itself. Cena's hair on the other hand... I think he got some work done in that department. His face also looked kind of weird and tight.
JOHN CENA POST-MATCH SPEECH - He really just said "I don't know what the future holds for me" and similar, but Cole's reaction to this very much felt like Cena's active career is winding down.
THE IICONICS DUO vs. NAOMI & ASUKA - 4/10
The Aussies didn't really even get that big of a pop in their home country. It was bigger than usual, though. They cut a complete and total babyface promo before the match. Even weirder, Asuka did Naomi's glow in the dark dancing entrance with her.
Even weirder, The IIconics, after their total babyface promo, played the heels the entire match, and then won pretty much cleanly.
EVOLUTION COMMERCIAL - Every time I see this, I keep waiting for the narrator from Powerpuff Girls to drop in and say "CHEMICAL X."
NO DISQUALIFICATIONS, NO COUNT-OUTS MATCH FOR THE WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE:
AJ Styles(c) vs. Samoa Joe - 8.75/10
They started off hot, both charging into the aisle and meeting there to brawl, before taking things into the ring and brawling some more. From there they slowed down while also slowly ramping the drama up. They had some great callback spots, gave AJ some spots to really show his anger, and really just went out there and had a true "WORLD TITLE" match.
THE RIOTT SQUAD vs. RONDA ROUSEY & THE BELLA TWINS - 4.5/10
Whoever made the decision to add that red trim to Ronda's top made a grave error. It makes the whole thing look like it was drawn by a child rather than designed by a professional. Speaking of red, when did Ruby Riott's hair turn red?
Brie Bella tried to pull Liv Morgan's tongue out. That has to be illegal, right?
The match was okay, though the finish (Ronda armbarred both Liv and Sarah at the same time!) looked really awesome. There was no turn or anything to build up to Ronda vs. Nikki at Evolution. The Bellas remaining babyfaces is not going to be a good thing, if Nikki's failure to evoke my sympathy as the babyface in peril tonight is any indication.
WWE CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Cedric Alexander(c) vs. Buddy Murphy - 8.25/10
An AWESOME, action-packed match. I am completely shocked that this only went 10:35. This rocked, gave this show the real moment it needed, and truly felt like the culmination of a journey for Buddy Murphy.
THE SHIELD vs. BRAUNS STROWMAN, DREW MCINTYRE, & DOLPH ZIGGLER - 8/10
The Shield now have goofy Mortal Kombat-esque masks. Fortunately, things got better from there. Action-wise this was your standard awesome six-man tag, and story-wise, all of the Ambrose stuff was handled (and choreographed) perfectly. Dean pinned Ziggler, which continues the tease of the idea that Braun could try to kick Ziggler out of the group for being the "weak link" who always loses.
WINNER BECOMES #1 CONTENDER FOR THE WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE:
The Miz vs. Daniel Bryan - 3.5/10
Remember that big angle they did on Smackdown with Miz attacking Bryan's ribs? Well... they played off of that a teeny bit in the beginning, then did some other stuff... and then Bryan counted an attempt at the Skull-Crushing Finale with a small package and got the pin in less than two and a half minutes. WTF?! Why was this match so short?
They announced that Bryan vs. AJ for the WWE World Heavyweight Title will happen at Crown Jewel. Charlotte will get another shot at Becky's title on this week on Smackdown.
NO DISQUALIFICATIONS MATCH:
The Undertaker (w/Kane) vs. Triple H (w/Shawn Michaels) - 8.25/10
Does anyone else find it a little silly that they're promising that this match is happening "for the last time ever" in the same angle they're using to set up Shawn Michael going back on his retirement stipulation?
The silhouettes of the cameramen getting caught in Hunter's entrance made me giggle. The match was randomly made no DQs. That let them do all of the crowd-brawling and weapon-use and interfering that they wanted. The match was awesome... but it also definitely suffered from being a match with nothing on the line and which feels completely detached from the regular WWE reality we see in all of the other segments. This feud feels like it exists in its own little world; it's someone getting nostalgic and playing a video game with the legend characters after watching an episode of Raw. If the consequences felt in any way tangible and I had been given a reason to root for one competitor or the other, this would have been a lot better.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - They made nice for a while until Kane & Taker attacked Shawn & Hunter.
This show was a mix of some awesome wrestling and some total house-show BS booking. For what is going to be the only PPV for most of the promotion's storylines, this was a little disappointing, even with the high in-ring quality. It would be nice if WWE could do a better job of making their PPVs feel big, especially when they're not really even trying to get rating via doing the blow-off on TV instead; they just put it off until some future PPV. Meanwhile, three weeks from now will be Evolution, for which we have one on-going actual storyline, and one match announced between a one-off returning legend and a current star, without anything of a real story having been developed for that, either (which isn't necessarily bad for a match-up like this, but it certainly makes the lack of storylines elsewhere stand out more).