WWE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods)(c) vs. John Morrison & The Miz vs. Lucha House Party (Gran Metalik & Lincé Dorado) the Forgotten Sons (w/Jaxon Ryker) - 6.5/10
Spots happened. Flipping Stunner is weaker, LOL. Ejecting Ryker from ringside in a match with no DQs is stupid.
LACEY EVANS PROMO - Bad. Stop explaining the match to us. Anyone watching this has already bought the PPV!
CHARLY CARSUO INTERVIEWS DREW MCINTYRE - Very good
R-TRUTH ENGAGES IN GOOFINESS BEFORE HIS MATCH WITH MVP - Bad. Whoever decided to keep turning the cameras during this should take the teased bump off the roof of Titan Tower. Truth was very annoying here, coming off like the heel. When Lashley showed up to kick his ass, I was happy because I wanted to see someone kick Truth’s ass.
R-TRUTH vs. BOBBY LASHLEY - DUD!
This was fine as a squash, but between the annoying segment to set it up and then putting a G-d damn squash match on a PPV, I decided it deserved a DUD.
BARON CORBIN PROMO - Boring. Again… stop trying to sell me a show I’ve already bought!
KAYLA BRAXTON TRIES TO STIR SH*T UP BETWEEN SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY - I would be more okay with this if we hadn’t already gone through over a year of break-up teases between these two.
WWE SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH:
Bayley(c) vs. Tamina - 4.5/10
Bayley worked over Tamina’s knee. Bayley countered a Samoan Drop with a Crucifix for the pin. Tamina tried to attack Bayley after the match like a sore loser but Sasha made the heel save
SETH ROLLINS PROMO - Good. This felt like character stuff rather than trying to sell me a match that I already bought, which is why did didn’t bother me the way the MITB promos do. Also, I’m only hearing this once, not twelve times.
WWE UNIVERSAL TITLE MATCH:
Braun Strowman(c) vs. Bray Wyatt - 2/10
This was okay for a while. Then the f*cking puppets showed up in the crowd. Then Braun got kicked off the apron, and when he came up, he was inexplicably wearing his old sheep mask. Then we got several minutes of Bray thinking that his meant that Braun had decided to join him and Braun acting as if this was the case and the puppets all chanting that Braun had come home, before Braun finally revealed that it was a ruse and hit Bray with this move. A real babyface wouldn’t have relied on a ruse. He just would have kicked Bray’s stupid ass.
HACKER VIDEO - Didn’t like it. I’m curious who this person is and what his/her goals are, but at the same time, I don’t trust WWE to tell a logical story with it or think through all of the ramifications of this person’s goals and methods. As for this video package itself, it was way too slickly produced for my liking. It looks like a movie trailer or something else WWE is deliberately placing in here, rather than some unknown individual invading the feed.
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Drew McIntyre(c) vs. Seth Rollins - 7.5/10
Seth accepts Drew’s handshake after the match, which was more than a little surprising for WWE. This was easily the only good thing on this show.
CHARLY CARUSO INTERVIEWS R-TRUTH - Bad. He’s still a goof. Also, we’re back to the 24/7 Title bullsh*t. He’s going after Gronk, who he confuses for Tom Brady. Snore.
MEN’S & WOMEN’S “CLIMB THE CORPORATE LADDER” MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCHES:
Daniel Bryan vs. Baron Corbin vs. AJ Styles vs. Otis Dozovic vs. Aleister Black vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. and Shayna Baszler vs. Nia Jax vs. Dana Brooke vs. Carmella vs. Lacey Evans vs. Asuka - -8/10
Yes, the second straight WWE PPV where we’ve gone into Negatives for one of these.
First, the positives:
1. I really liked the graphics they had listing people’s height and weight and telling us who they beat to earn their way into this match.
2. There was some good physical comedy in that spot where some of the women ran into each other coming around the corner.
3. IF (and only if) the AJ Styles Taker PTSD stuff winds up going somewhere, then maybe I can call that a positive, although showing us all what was in AJ’s mind is a bridge too far for me. Just have AJ act scared upon seeing Taker all of a sudden. But I don’t think it’s actually going anywhere because it seemed to designed just to set up the spot later on, which I’ll get to in a minute.
Okay, that’s it for the positives, now onto the negatives.
First on my list the majority of this match was just a bunch of punch-kick in enclosed spaces. There were two or three nice action spots, but everything else was boring as sh*t. I’m not sure if this is the most minor point or the most major one, as it covers a majority of the match, but certainly wasn’t the thing that annoyed me the most.
Then there were the food fights. If you are someone who is entertained by food fights, I’m sure there is plenty of that for you on Nickelodeon. I do not want to see it in my professional wrestling. I realize that the guy in charge of the company falls into this demographic, and I would love to see him give up the wrestling business and go watch Nickelodeon all day but that’s not going to happen, so I am aiming my wrath at fans who will no doubt try to defend this as “comedy.”
Speaking of supposed comedy, let’s talk about those cameos. Every single one of the cameos was terrible. They fall into two categories. The first was the utterly stupid random cameos that served not purpose other than to make people with single-digit IQs say “WOW! It’s RANDOM PERSON X!” This includes the two that led to food fights. None of them served any purpose for the match other than making Rey look like an idiot for getting distracted by the sound of a flushing toilet and thus missing the elevator.
The other category is cameos that made the wrestlers look stupid. One of them involved AJ and Bryan brawling into Vince’s office, then being intimidated when Vince yelled at them to get out. Neither of these men has a positive relationship with Vince. Why would they give a sh*t what he says? Also, Vince had to know that people were going to be in the building at this point, so if he didn’t want people barging in on him, he should have locked the door. This did nothing for the match, and only served to stroke Vince’s ego.
As bad as that one was, it pales in comparison to Steph’s cameo. Some of the women brawled into a conference room which had an MITB briefcase hanging from the ceiling above the table. Dana Brooke decided to pull it down, and despite the fact that we have been told over and over and over and over again over the past few weeks that the briefcases will be on the ROOF, Dana Brooke celebrated as if she had won the match, like a f*cking idiot.
That’s when Steph showed up. She showed up on a completely white background which didn’t match the rest of the room, but we were supposed to believe she was right there. And don’t tell me that I have to make allowances for this sort of thing due to Coronavirus, because every single other person with a cameo was in the building. Steph explained to Dana as if Dana were a child that she pulled down the wrong briefcase because the real briefcase is on the roof, while this is the “Money in the Bank conference room.” Then she started complaining to the wrestlers that they were making a mess and breaking things. WELL WHAT THE F*CK DID YOU THINK WAS GOING TO HAPPEN WHEN YOU BOOKED THIS MATCH TO TAKE PLACE IN TITAN TOWER?!
Then there was the mood music. This was idiotic. It didn’t add to the atmosphere like it did in the Boneyard match or the various Hardy Compound matches. It just made everything goofier. Even their attempts at action-music made this feel a lot more post-produced than it needed to.
Once everyone got to the roof, there was a ring set up up there where they did normal ladder match spots, which made everything that had come before them feel like a goofy prelude rather than like part of a match. If the briefcases had just been hung from an antennae by the top of the stairwell or attached to an air conditioning unit or something and the wrestlers had to fight their way to them, it would have made this feel more coherent to me.
Also, while they were fighting on top of the roof, Baron Corbin rather casually tossed first Rey Mysterio Jr. and then Aleister Black OFF THE ROOF OF THE BUILDING, presumably to their deaths. Yes, you read that correctly. A true legend of this business and one of WWE’s top up-and-comers, are at the very least grievously injured right now, if not dead. Just figured I’d put that out there since WWE seems to have not paid any attention to that fact.
Finally, there are two more spots I want to talk about. One is AJ Styles getting trapped under the heavy barbell, and the other is Aleister Black kicking AJ into that Undertaker-y room with the casket in it. My problem with the former is that we never saw how AJ got up, and my problem with the latter is that Aleister Black was supposedly several floors above AJ and would have had to go run back down for no explainable reason in order to be near AJ to kick him. I’m sure people are saying “it doesn’t matter,” but it actually does, and here’s why. In the first case, part of telling a story of someone getting stuck, is showing me how they got out. In the second one, it matters because the thing we’re supposed to be looking forward to in this match is someone winning, and thus fans should be trying to keep track of who is where. The attitude that seems to go into creating these cinematic matches in WWE is that this sh*t doesn’t matter, but if how we get to the end doesn’t matter then why am I wasting my time watching anything before the finish?
Once again with one of these, WWE failed to try to tell a coherent story. It was just a bunch of punch-kick interspersed with dumb comedy, and that’s not what pro wrestling is supposed to be. It’s supposed to be a story. Storytelling is already weak in a lot of places (and WWE in particular), and rather than using this age of COVID when you don’t have a crowd to pop for your MOVEZ to focus on storytelling that translates well through a screen, WWE is using these cinematic matches as a crutch to just do the 2020 viral social media equivalent of MOVEZ instead of using the pre-taped format to help tell stories. This wasn’t pro wrestling. This was a goofy mockery of it.
Asuka won the women’s match. I should be happy about this, but Asuka’s current gimmick is so annoying that I’m dreading having to hear her ramble on in Japanese in as annoying and cartoonish a manner as is possible every week from now until whenever she cashes in.
The finish to the men’s match was AJ and Corbin both unhooking the briefcase at the same time but then The Drifter showed up and hit Corbin with a guitar knocking him off the ladder, but also causing AJ to drop the briefcase, which Otis caught… so now we’ve got a babyface winner who didn’t deserve to win, as well as more of Corbin vs. Drifter coming out way. UCH. I’m beginning to think that Rey and Aleister were the lucky ones.
The show went off the air with Michael calmly telling us that this has been “quite the night.” DUDE! TWO OF YOUR COWORKERS JUST GOT THROWN OFF THE ROOF OF A LARGE BUILDING! WHY ARE YOU SO CALM?!
This show sucked hard. Even with how bad both nights of Mania were, I think this show might have been even worse. I don’t like these cinematic matches very much, but if you’re going to do them, there is a way to do them well, and WWE clearly has no idea what that is at this point, and I don’t think they’re going tom figure it out any time soon, so I’d rather they just stopped doing this sh*t altogether and just stuck to wrestling.