Still in New Orleans so still behind on doing the reviews, but still able to do some live reports. This time around we had the big event show with everything going at a hundred miles an hour and a ridiculous amount of returns, debuts and surprises. That can make for a fun show and I had a pretty good time. Let’s get to it.
Since there’s so much to cover, this is chronological instead of in any order of importance or interest.
Also, the sellout line was COMPLETELY bogus as there was a good chunk of empty seats on the hard camera side. I was opposite the hard camera in the upper deck an at least four seats in the row in front of me stayed empty all night. There were also empty floor seats easily seen.
Stephanie McMahon opened the show and egads this was great. I can live with Stephanie being all stuck up when she comes across as in on the joke and that’s what we got here. Rousey coming out and going from smile to death stare was outstanding and I wanted to see her break the other arm. This was EXACTLY what it needed to be and should get rid of Stephanie, at least for the time being.
Ember Moon debuted in a pretty expected move. It’s the right way to go about things with her as there’s nothing left for her in NXT. The Eclipse is still an outstanding finisher and pinning Alexa Bliss, who was Women’s Champion 24 hours earlier, was a promising start. I’m not sure why she and Nia are now friends, but Ember coming up is a good thing.
Now we go down the other road with Braun Strowman and Nicholas vacating the Tag Team Titles. Why? Because Nicholas is in fourth grade of course! That got a great laugh and so did Nicholas promising to come back to give someone THESE HANDS when he’s done with school. However, it seems that the whole point of this is to crown new champions in Saudi Arabia and if we just have to do the title change one night and vacate it the next, so be it. This got on my nerves far more than Nicholas appearing in the first place and comes off like WAY too much work for what they got out of it.
No Way Jose debuted and won a match in about thirty seconds with a conga line before and after the match. I’ve always been a fan of the guy and he’s the perfect house show opener for years to come.
The Bar is getting their shot at the Tag Team Titles in Saudi Arabia and their opponents are being determined with a mini tournament. The Revival made the finals by beating the Good Brothers and that’s all there is to say here. It’s the right call and hopefully the Revival can pick up some steam. I mean, they won’t, but it’s nice for a week.
Seth Rollins came out and got a great reaction to BURN IT DOWN. Finn Balor interrupted and asked for a title shot, which Rollins granted at a future date. It was Miz’s turn as he came out and said he wanted his rematch at Backlash. Rollins said it was on and a handicap match was teased but Jeff Hardy returned to even things up. That’s a VERY good idea as there’s no need to have him do the Broken stuff. You don’t know how long he has left so put him out there and see what he can do in a last singles run. The six man is set for later.
Sasha Banks and Bayley are still arguing and have a match next week. There’s no much to this but I think Bayley turns.
In a great moment, Paige announced her retirement from in-ring competition due to her injuries. You had to know this was coming but it was very fitting that she did it in the same arena and on the same show that she made her main roster debut. I was there for both moments and it was sad to see her go, but this needs to be done. She got a THIS IS YOUR HOUSE chant and left her t-shirt in the ring for one of the better retirement speeches I’ve seen in a good while.
Elias came out for a song, got an insanely positive reaction, insulted the crowd, and was then mauled by a returning Bobby Lashley. This was another expected debut and one that was also very effective, even if his big move was a delayed suplex. Lashley still looks like a million bucks and he’s learned the character stuff in his time away. He could be a big deal for a few years and that’s always a positive.
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens tried to get jobs but Angle says he’s not just giving it out. In the line of the weekend, Angle said he’s heard TNA is hiring. If TNA has ever been mentioned on the main shows, the moment escapes me. Anyway they can wrestle each other tonight and the winner gets a contract.
The Authors of Pain debuted and slaughtered Heath Slater and Rhyno. After the match they walked away from Paul Ellering, which doesn’t surprise me. Unless he’s going to come back with another team (not sure who that could be), he might just not want to be on the road every week. We’ll see if he’s back but it’s not like they really need him.
A solemn Roman Reigns came out and talked about taking a beating last night. In what sounded like he was accusing Lesnar of shooting on him or at least going off script, Reigns said that no one would look at him when he got to the building yesterday and Lesnar shocked everyone by re-signing with WWE. It didn’t make a lot of sense and came out of left field to say something like that and I’m not sure I want to know where it’s going. Anyway, Samoa Joe returned, called Reigns out for losing again, and promised to choke him out at Backlash. Joe was great here, showing off the serious emotion that he does so well.
Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt won the other semifinal match over Titus Worldwide and will face the Revival for the title shot next week. Again, not much to say here as it was exactly what it should have been.
Sami and Owens went to a double countout when neither could get to their feet after a superplex. Therefore, no one gets the contract. Now this one interests me as they’re either going to go barnstorming on both shows until someone hires them or do something else. I’d love to see them even go to NXT for a month or two, just to see what happens.
In a funny moment, the Hardys and Wyatt talked in the Woken style about what they’ve been up to with Bray saying that he feels WONDERFUL since Sister Abigail was vanquished. Aside from there being a reason for his face turn, the highlight was the camera panning over to a confused Balor and Rollins. That’s the kind of comedy that works in wrestling: pointing out that while what is being said makes sense in the wrestling world, to an outsider, these are crazy people talking about crazy things. See also Dr. Shelby with Kane and Daniel Bryan.
The trio of midcard superheroes defeated the Miztourage in a match that was everything you would have expected it to be. Post match it was a parade of finishers to end the show. There was no dark match but Rollins called for the fans to throw their beach balls into the ring and a mini party broke out.
Overall, tonight’s show felt like a post Wrestlemania show, but it also felt like they were rushing to get through it. How much stuff tonight was just a way to set up the Saudi Arabia show and Backlash? I know you have to do some of those things, but this felt like they were trying to move as fast as they could, likely so the fans couldn’t take over the show again.
That being said, this show was PACKED with stuff happening, including returns, debuts and matches being set up all over the place. I did like what we got, but there was so much of it that it’s going to take some time to process. On top of all that, there’s the Superstar Shakeup next week, meaning all of this could be completely meaningless. It’s still a fun night though and while there wasn’t one big moment, there were several important moments, making it feel like a special night.
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