Money in the Bank 2020: Every Match Ranked

Woah…ok. That sure was a night of wrestling.

It’s easy to forget given the…something…that was the main event, but there were actually proper wrestling matches on this show, and almost all of them were pretty good. The lower number of matches than usual did feel a bit weird, especially when some of them didn’t get to go very long, but much like the two-night Wrestlemania, I think it was actually a good idea. Things felt like they were paced a lot better because of it and my interest never wained in the show because it didn’t drag on for an hour longer than it needed to. Sure, I would’ve prefered it if more high-profile talent got a spot on this show, but I’m thankful that they didn’t stuff this show with guff.

So, let’s get on with the matches.

7 – Bobby Lashley def. R-Truth

Oh yeah, Bobby Lashley is a thing…how did I forget about him?

Not a whole lot to say with this one. Truth and MVP’s promo was kinda fun but not really all that intriguing, I guess it probably would’ve been a bit better if I knew anything about basketball, but that’s my problem. As for the bait-and-switch, I’m ok with it, since I don’t think MVP vs R-Truth would’ve been all that great.

Admittedly, this match wasn’t anything special either, but I certainly didn’t hate it. When you get matches like this that are just slightly extended squashes, you have to look at them through a different lens than you look at a regular match through. I think Truth’s antics of trying to escape kept this thing going through Lashley’s relatively uninteresting offence.

That said, it was still a standard squash match, so I can’t bring myself to put it any higher than this.

6 – Bayley(c) def. Tamina
(Smackdown Women’s Championship)

I really wanted to be optimistic about this one, but it just didn’t work.

It had it’s moments, mostly involving Bayley heeling it up, but the match ended up being quite slow for the most part and wasn’t able to carry the 10 minutes it got. I wish I could be positive about Tamina here, but there really wasn’t anything to like from her here. Her wrestling style is that of your standard “big-guy” in wrestling only she seems to have even less mobility than many of her counterparts. She can do a good superkick though…so there’s that I guess? Bayley didn’t seem to be at her best here either. I enjoyed her taunting Tamina throughout, and that aspect of her character has remained consistent, but something about her in-ring stuff just felt a bit flat to me; not to mention one of the worst knee-bars I’ve ever seen.

As for the finish, it’s about what I expected. It would’ve been nice to see a bit more of something between Sasha and Bayley (if that’s where we’re headed…it bloody well should be). Although, I understand that subtlety isn’t exactly WWE’s strong suit and they’re probably looking to keep this building until Summerslam, so maybe it’s a bit early. If Tamina does carry on pursuing this title, I can only hope it’s in the form of a multi-woman match, because I really don’t fancy sitting through another singles match between these two.

5 – Jeff Hardy def. Cesaro
(Kickoff Show)

You know, given that they spent a month hyping up his return, I really would’ve thought they’d have put this match on the main show…

As it stands, I enjoyed this one. Admittedly there’s not really all that much to say about it, as it generally filled the role of being a slightly above average TV match than anything else. I don’t wonder with matches like this whether I would’ve enjoyed it more if there was a crowd to react to stuff, even if I feel I’ve gotten used to the lack of background noise by now. I don’t really know what else to say here, there was no story going into this match since Cesaro and Sheamus have now disassociated from each other.

It was an enjoyable match from two great wrestlers, and I’d love to see more of this from both of these guys going forward.

4 – Braun Strowman(c) def. Bray Wyatt
(Universal Championship)

The fact that the lack of a crowd means we can very clearly hear the wrestlers talking in the ring is something that I don’t think has been taken advantage of nearly as much as it could’ve been up until now. Bray Wyatt was the perfect character to play to this, and he did an excellent job. From his ramblings to commentary and the camera during his entrance, to his comments to Braun throughout the match, Wyatt was able to tell the story absolutely perfectly.

I wasn’t actually all that interested in the story going into this one, but thanks to the work done between the two of them in the ring, I came away more invested than I came in. The injection of the puppets was the only thing that didn’t quite land for me. I know they’re supposed to be Wyatt’s tools for indoctrinating people into the funhouse, but they’re so disconnected from what Wyatt and Strowman had in 2015/16, that they felt a bit out of place. Everything else was really well done though, from Bray’s pleading with Braun, to Braun’s tricking of Wyatt, making him believe that he had actually convinced him to come back. In a way, this even justified the decision to had Funhouse Bray wrestle the match rather than The Fiend.

When it comes to the action, it wasn’t anything spectacular, but it was entertaining enough and served the story like it was supposed to. This wasn’t much of a competitive match, which tends to be where Wyatt shines best, so there was only so much interest it could have. That said, his more reactionary role in the pacing made for a more compelling story.

3 – The New Day(c) def. Lucha House Party, The Forgotten Sons, The Miz & John Morrison
(Smackdown Tag Team Championships)

Multi-team tag matches are always great.

This match followed the simple, yet effective, formula that most matches of this elk do. That being it started out pretty slow, with standard action between the two legal men, throwing in the occasional tag and double-team move. Then about 5 minutes in all hell breaks loose and the following 10 minutes of the match is a barrel of fun.

Lucha House Party ended up being the MVPs of this match if you ask me, one of them was almost always involved in the action, and they did a really good job of it too. This kind of chaotic and fast-paced match is perfect for their style, so everything they did felt very natural and compelling. Miz & Morrison were great too. It wasn’t quite as overt as it was in their previous matches, but they filled their role of picking their spots and only getting involved when they stood a chance of gaining the advantage to great effect.

The Forgotten Sons were, unfortunately, who I was most disappointed. They got a few notable spots in there, but nothing all that consequential. They’re one of those rare cases where I don’t think we saw their full potential in NXT and I was really hoping that we’d start to catch glimpses of it here. The New Day was great though, and I think the match was structured in such a way so that you really felt they deserved the win by the end. Kofi took a battering like he always does, and Big E ran through the whole thing with a head of steam in the way that only he can.

I’m not entirely sure where the feuds will go from here. My guess would be a regular two on two match between New Day and Miz & Morrison just to finally put the cap on that, but The Forgotten Sons may get that featured spot instead. Either way, I think we’re in for a good match at Backlash.

2 – Drew McIntyre(c) def. Seth Rollins
(WWE Championship)

Ok, when it comes to regular wrestling matches, this was far-and-away the best match on the show, but come on…

It seems Money in the Bank is just going to be the show where Seth Rollins had a brilliant singles match for a world title, his brilliant match with Styles was at last year’s show too. Given how dominant a champion Drew has been over the past month, there was a risk that making this too much of a competitive match might take away from some of that aura, but I think they did a great job of balancing it. Drew felt like he was in control for large swathes of the match and even in his more vulnerable moments, he never felt diminished because of it.

Rollins meanwhile has done an amazing job of making his fast-paced, high-flying offence – a style that typically only works for faces – into something quite methodical and heelish. The sequence where he did a bunch of flying knee strikes to Drew on the outside, in particular, felt very heavy and brutal, even though it’s usually a crowd-popping and exciting move.

Everything in this match worked to the benefit of both men. Rollins shows once again how he’s able to continually adapt and evolve his style for what his role is, and he genuinely looked like a credible threat to Drew’s championship. Meanwhile, Drew was able to look vulnerable without ever looking weak, and the handshake at the end solidified him as the top guy on Raw. Partly because it makes him look noble and honourable, but Rollins accepting it gives Drew a boost too, because Rollins’ whole point in this feud was his belief that Drew wouldn’t be able to handle leading Raw.

Combine all of that stuff with a sizable helping of exciting back-and-forth action, and you’ve got yourself a match of the year candidate right there.

1 – Otis and Asuka won the Money in the Bank Ladder Matches

Ok…ok. Let’s all take a breath…now let’s break this thing down.

First thing’s first, this whole thing was so incredibly dumb, but it was also absolutely brilliant. Let’s be honest here, the idea of a race through an office block to grab a prize on the roof is an absolutely ridiculous concept, so leaning all the way into that ridiculousness was the perfect way to play this match.

Things started off silly as Asuka did a dance on the balcony before leaping off of it onto all of the other women, meanwhile, the men fought in the gym, a sequence which featured Corbin being absolutely traumatised when he accidentally broke one of the mirrors. Then Asuka got into an elevator and seemingly danced the whole way up in it as the men ran past a bathroom, in which Brother Love was taking a piss for some reason.

Next up, then men fought into an elevator, which opened in the exact same place where the women had just started fighting. Some great spots included Asuka and Aleister Black doing shifty eyes like they’re in a Scooby-Doo cartoon before sneaking off. Meanwhile, Otis got carried away, cheering along with Daniel Bryan’s “Yes!” kicks and also…there was a clown…I don’t know why there was a clown, but the was a clown.

Moving on, the women fought their way into a conference room that, for some reason, had a fake Money in the Bank briefcase hanging from the ceiling. After all the other women were laid out, Dana Brooke, for some reason, thought that the briefcase above the conference room must be the real one, despite every advert for the past month saying it would be on the roof. At this point, Stephanie McMahon appeared in one of the worst editing jobs I’ve ever seen (it didn’t even slightly look like Stephanie was actually in the room with Dana) to tell Dana that the real briefcase was on the roof.

We then revisit AJ Styles, who’s hunting down Rey after Rey left him trapped under a set of weights in the gym and we get a rare bit of continuity in WWE as AJ becomes traumatised by a photo of The Undertaker. Which makes sense when you consider The Undertaker buried AJ alive last month…you would’ve thought that would’ve come up a bit sooner, but oh well.

Then we get to the stupidest, but also the best part of the match. As Paul Heyman was sat down at a table full of food, both the men and the women ran into the room and stared each other down. Otis then picked up a sandwich and started having a fit. Everyone else in the room put on their best melodramatic “oh shit” faces until Otis called for a food fight and chaos ensued. Some of the highlights of this segment include Rey Mysterio being choked out by Shayna Baszler, then literally squashed by Nia Jax and the music being absolutely perfect. That isn’t the end of the food stuff though, as Otis went into the kitchen and found a row of pies laid out. At which point, MOTHERFUCKIN’ JOHNNY ACE rolls in on a scooter and takes a pie to the face.

Dana then manages to slip on a wet floor (we never see her again in the match after this) and Nia throws Shayna into a wall, we’d never see Shayna again in this match either. The men have managed to fight their way into the main conference room, and after a small skirmish, Styles and Bryan stumble into an office that just so happens to have Vince McMahon writing on a clipboard. Styles and Bryan then look at each other like school children that have been caught messing around and leave the office with their tails between their legs. After that, another skirmish happens where Corbin comes out on top and declares “I’m going to the roof!” to absolutely no-one.

We finally get to the roof, and this is where things get a bit more tense and series. The women get to the roof first, and there aren’t any major ladder spots on the roof, just vague fighting and attempting to prevent each other from climbing the ladder. After Asuka and Lacey fought on the ladder for a weirdly long time, Asuka was climbing to the top. Corbin appeared and tried to stop her from grabbing the briefcase for some reason. Seriously, WHY did Corbin give a shit about Asuka winning the women’s briefcase? The men’s briefcase was RIGHT THERE, if he had just left Asuka alone, he could’ve won the match in seconds. Anyway, Asuka kicked him in the face and retrieved the briefcase.

We’re not done yet, though, as now the rest of the men emerged onto the roof. Corbin decided that the best course of action would be to launch both Mysterio and Black off of the roof (I know there was actually a crash pad about 10 feet down, but they shot it to look like they went off the roof). The men fought for a bit and eventually Styles and Corbin found themselves at the top of the ladder, the briefcase came off of the hook with both of them holding it until Elias of all people showed up and smashed Corbin in the back with a guitar. That left AJ with the briefcase and the win, right? WRONG. Instead, AJ managed to fumble the briefcase, which knocked it perfectly into Otis’ hands. Seriously, they showed the slow-motion replay, and it’s the most perfect fumble I think I’ve ever seen.

GOD, this was brilliant. The Boneyard and Funhouse matches were great because of their uniqueness and the cleverness of the writing and filming involved. This was great in the way that it’s so bloody stupid I can’t help but love every second of it.

As for the winners, as much as I would’ve preferred Shayna to win, giving it to Asuka is still a great choice and I hope they make something good of it. In regards to Otis, it’s certainly not who I would’ve picked, but given that this was a comedy match, why not have the comedy wrestler win it? I don’t think he’ll ever actually get to cash-in as I stand by my belief that there is no world championship in his future. However, right now, I can’t help but smile at it. Like the match as a whole, it’s incredibly dumb, but also beautiful.

That’s all folks! Thank you very much for taking the time to read this article, please let me know what your thoughts on the show are, either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo. Finally, make sure you come back this time on Saturday, where I’ll be releasing the second part of my Minecraft Updates list!

WWE Wrestlemania 36: Predictions & Analysis

Ok…ok. Let’s all just take a second to breathe…

We all nice and calm? Yes? Good. Now WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON?!

I mean, obviously, we know what’s going with the world as a whole, but as to what WWE are doing with this show…I honestly don’t have the words. First, there was talk of it getting postponed until June, then they announced they were going to do it from the Performance Center with no crowd, then suddenly it was a two-night event and now it turns out it’s technically already happened because they TAPED it last week and NOW there’s a whole bunch of confusion over who actually is and isn’t wrestling on the show. A bunch of reports came out about Asuka, The Miz & Cesaro all refusing to wrestle, but apparently, that might’ve been WWE leaking some fake info to throw people off the scent? I honestly have no idea what going on, but it sure it WILD.

The real kicker is that despite all of this craziness, I can’t help but feel incredibly underwhelmed.

I know, of course, it’s not WWE’s fault. No-one could’ve seen this coming and given the circumstances, there is honestly no “right way” to go about this. Running the show at the PC has its downsides, but rescheduling for June, when we don’t know if the current global crisis will be over by then is arguably just as bad of a decision. However, that doesn’t change the fact that I’m not nearly as excited for this show as I was a month ago and I honestly don’t think it’s going to be as good as it could’ve been. Again, not WWE’s fault in the slightest, but it’s still true.

Still, I’m not going to go in with the mindset of hating it, I’m going to do my best to give it a chance since, on paper, almost all of these matches promise great things. It’s true that the lack of a crowd will take something major away from the matches, but they could still be fun to watch.

So let’s get predicting.

OH and just to clarify, I haven’t seen any spoilers from last week’s tapings of this show because that would defeat the point.

Aleister Black vs Bobby Lashley

Oh goodie, it’s a “we need to fill two nights” kind of match.

It’s hard to be critical of a match like this because we’re all well aware that it wouldn’t be happening if the current situation wasn’t as it is; or at the very least, we would’ve got some build to it if the circumstances were normal.  I think it could be a pretty good match, Lashley can pretty selectively put on surprisingly good matches so if everything comes together between these two we might be spending Monday talking about how we were pleasantly surprised by this one.

Aleister Black has got to win though, for the same reasons he’s had to win every PPV match he’s had over the past year or so. I’m really hoping that this match ends the “match for the sake of giving Black a win” phase of his story and we actually give him something with a bit of meat to it next. Still, as far as high-profile wins go, I think beating Lashley is a good one.

Elias vs King Corbin

Ironically, this is a match I’m pretty certain would’ve happened regardless of the circumstances and yet I care so much less about it.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Elias and Corbin’s ok, but I’m just not buying the animosity between these two. The upside of Corbin’s character is that all he has to do is say a few mean words and you can understand the other guy wanting him to take him down a few notches, but I really think that both of these guys could’ve been doing something a little more interesting. Then again, we’re not getting another Corbin vs Reigns match, so I guess I should be happy about it.

I’m pretty certain King Corbin is going to win this one. He’s spent the past few months losing to Roman Reigns over and over again and it’s not like WWE have ever cared about building Elias up as a legitimate star. I imagine Elias will use Gronk’s help to get one over on Corbin after the bell, but I’m fully expecting the actual win to go to Corbin.

Otis vs Dolph Ziggler

I really didn’t think this would get this far, but good on everyone involved for making it work.

I’ve made it clear before that I’m not really digging Otis as a personality, I think he falls just on the wrong side of silly for me. That said, I’ve actually been relatively invested in this storyline, I think it’s been well-written for the most part and has served its purpose of building Heavy Machinery up and stopped them from being “just another tag team” which so many pairings are right now.

I’m not overly invested in the outcome of this one, but I think if they get the level of shenanigans right, then I’ll come away from it having an enjoyable time at the very least. I’ve got to go with Otis on this one though, otherwise, this whole thing will have been for nothing in my view, it’s not like Dolph Ziggler needs the win and after this whole saga, I think we all just want to see the happy ending where the guy gets the girl…and then the girl’s friend starts beating the shit out her.

The Street Profits(c) vs Austin Theory & Angel Garza
(Raw Tag Team Championships)

I mean…ok?

I know there have been plenty of weird decisions made in the build to Wrestlemania this year, but this strikes me as one of the weirdest. At least when Andrade was in the match I could say it made some amount of sense and if he got injured then fair enough on finding a replacement but…why Austin Theory?

Don’t get me wrong, I like Theory, I think he’s a great wrestler, but out of everyone on the whole roster they could’ve picked to fill this role…why him? There’s no rationale behind this as far as I can tell and I don’t just mean in storyline, I mean in general. Admittedly, I certainly can’t think of anyone better to put in that spot, but it still feels weird.

Regardless of the strangeness surrounding it, I’m pretty confident this will be a good match. I have very little negative to say about any of these 4 men when it comes to their in-ring work and provided this gets a decent amount of time, this could be the sleeper hit of the weekend. The Street Profits should win this one because Theory & Garza winning would be stupid and they’d probably only hold the belts for about a week.

The Kabuki Warriors(c) vs Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross
(Women’s Tag Team Championships)

Alexa Bliss! I remember her.

I don’t mean to poke fun, but it really feels like Alexa has been away from the ring for ages now thanks to various injury scares and it’s almost like I’ve forgotten who she is to some extent. Her character is in this weird limbo where she hasn’t quite found her feet as a face yet outside of being Nikki Cross’ friend because everyone loves Nikki Cross.

Once again, I think the match will probably be a really fun one to watch, but I can’t say I’m all the invested in it. The Kabuki Warriors feel like they’ve been champions forever and I totally forgot that Bliss & Cross are actually who they won the titles from in the first place. It wouldn’t surprise me if we saw some form of character surprise here, with someone turning on their partner, although I couldn’t pick who. I don’t have any reason or justification behind that claim other than a gut feeling though, so who knows?

Picking a winner is a bit of dilemma too because I don’t feel like there’s much else for Asuka & Kairi to do with the titles. Which is extra weird when you consider they haven’t been defended for ages because Asuka’s been tied up with Becky and Shayna since January. On the other hand, I also don’t see any value in Bliss & Cross winning the titles back from the women they originally lost them too. I might be overthinking this, but I’m going with Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross to win the titles since Bliss has only recently returned to the ring. In addition to this, I can see Asuka & Kairi getting much more prominent roles as singles competitors to take on Shayna throughout the summer. I also think that Alexa’s already done all there is to do as a single star (at least until there’s a new crop of female talent on Raw & Smackdown), so the tag belts feel like the right move for her & Nikki Cross right now.

The Miz & John Morrison(c) vs The Usos vs The New Day
(Smackdown Tag Team Championships)
(Ladder Match)

Now, THIS is the kind of thing that gives me life. Crowd or no crowd, crazy ladder spots always look cool…assuming this match really is happening…

I honestly don’t know what else to say about this match other than it’s got a 99.9% chance of being brilliant. We already know that The Usos & The New Day have some of the greatest in-ring chemistry currently in the WWE, so you pile on top of that ladders upon ladders AND a wonderfully heelish tag team for both of them to be trying to take down and you’ve got yourself a recipe for a brilliant match.

Not only will it be a brilliant watch, but I’m also pretty even when it comes to picking a winner. I don’t think it will be The New Day and they’re the former champions, but between the other two teams, I think it could go either way. On the one hand, Miz & Morrison are still pretty hot as a team right now and they haven’t had a long enough reign to really show their true potential for what they can do with the belts in the modern-day. Then on the other, you have The Usos, who feel like they’ve been inches away from taking back the Tag Titles ever since they returned late last year. In the end, I think I’m going to have to go with The Miz & John Morrison because I’m picking a lot of face wins and a lot of title changes on this show, so this is a nice heelish win (probably achieved through sneaky methods) to balance things out.

Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins

How long has this match been building now? Since about Survivor Series?

I’m not complaining too much, as I actually think Rollins’ heel turn and character change has been very entertaining for the past few months, but this feud has in some way been a part of Raw for so long that it’s going to feel weird without it. Assuming this is their only match…which it almost certainly won’t be, but that’s not important.

This match seems like a sure-fire hit to me. Both of these guys are brilliant wrestlers who seem to know each other quite well and I’m sure they’ll put on something fantastic to watch. I imagine they’ll be shenanigans galore involving AOP, Viking Raiders & Buddy Murphy in one way or another, but I don’t think it’ll take anything away from the match. Ultimately, the only thing that could potentially drag this match down is the same thing that could potentially ruin every match for the next two nights, which is the lack of a crowd.

This is one of the matches I’m least confident about picking a winner for. Both guys haven’t had many major wins recently and both arguably need them. I think Owens has the potential to be one of the biggest babyfaces in recent memory if his rise is booked well enough, but on the other hand, I think WWE are really high on Rollins’ new gimmick right now and I fully expect him to be the first challenger for the WWE title following Wrestlemania. I genuinely went back and forth on this one so much, this is actually the second time I’ve had to rewrite this section this week because of how much I’ve been flip-flopping. I’m going with Kevin Owens, I think he’s got the most to gain from this win and it’s not like it will hurt Seth all that much to lose after the year he’s had. Not to mention, with one member of AOP being out of action again, it seems like his group might be falling apart sooner than expected.

Sami Zayn(c) vs Daniel Bryan

Yes, yes, ALL the way yes, hook this match directly into my veins.

Since I first started watching NXT in late 2014, this is the match I’ve wanted to see. If you’ve ever read any of my wrestling-based posts before then you’ll know how much I adore Daniel Bryan as a competitor and I feel a very similar way about NXT Sami Zayn. Now, admittedly, this isn’t NXT Sami Zayn, but I still think it’s going to be just as great, if not better. I was very much against Zayn winning the title from Strowman last month, but seeing the direction his character has gone in since winning it and how truly insufferable he’s become, I take it all back, this is brilliant.

There’s so many moving parts in this story too. I had no idea that Bryan vs Gulak would lead to them forming this student/mentor relationship, where the veteran Daniel Bryan is the student, but by God is it entertaining. Then there is the additional factor of Nakamura & Cesaro as “The Artist’s Collective” which is as good of a name as I suppose and we’ve got ourselves 5 of the greatest in-ring technicians of this generation involved in this match.

I’m also quite in the air about the winner. Zayn’s barely had a cup of coffee with the belt and given how amazing of a character he’s been, it’d be a shame for him to lose the title so soon. Then again, that’s also what I thought about Strowman’s run with the title and look what happened there. Not to mention Daniel Bryan with the Intercontinental Championship will inevitably lead to another run similar to Seth Rollins’ time with the title a couple of years ago where every match he has with it is amazing. I’ve also realised that Bryan winning the IC title is pretty much the only logical way to progress this story Bryan has going on with Gulak right now. So for all of those reasons, I’m picking Daniel Bryan to win this one.

Bayley(c) vs Sasha Banks vs Lacey Evans vs Tamina vs Naomi
(Smackdown Women’s Championship)
(Elimination Match)

I’ve not been a fan of how the Smackdown Women’s title has been treated so far this year. This match is just another mark that goes to show how bad of a job WWE has done of building the Smackdown women’s roster to a point where there’s a legitimate contender for Bayley come Wrestlemania; especially when she’s been tearing the house down as a character for well over 6 months now.

If this gets given a good amount of time (and with two nights, it bloody well better) I think this could be a lot of fun. Multi-wrestler matches are always able to keep up a much more frantic pace and the elimination stipulation adds for lots of story potential in order to keep everything ticking over nicely. Four out of five of these women are good-to-great wrestlers and I’m optimistic at what they could put together here given the opportunity.

When looking towards the result, that’s a little more tricky. I think there are two competitors with a pretty good chance and one more with an outside chance, those women being Bayley, Sasha Banks and Naomi respectively. Bayley vs Sasha is something we’ve all been begging to see for literally years, but since her big return last September, Sasha’s got no major wins at all. So here’s how I think the final three will go down:
– We’ll be left with Bayley, Sasha and Naomi
– Bayley & Sasha will try to double team Naomi, but she’ll break through it
– Some sort of situation will happen where Naomi lays Sasha out, but Bayley immediately shit-cans her out of the ring, leaving Bayley and an unconscious Sasha in the ring
– At which point, Bayley will pin Sasha to eliminate her, going on to use some sort of underhanded tactic to defeat Naomi too.

I’m picking Bayley to retain for a couple of reasons. One, because I think she’s doing fantastic as champion and I don’t want to see it end. Two, I’m predicting a lot of title changes on this show, especially with the major men’s and women’s titles and this is the only one I can see not changing hands. Finally, if a Sasha face turn is where this is leading, then I think it makes more sense for Sasha to be chasing the belt for the next couple of months instead of Bayley and Bayley deliberately eliminating Sasha from this match will give her some legitimate beef to build off of.

Rhea Ripley(c) vs Charlotte Flair
(NXT Women’s Championship)

When Charlotte Flair won the Royal Rumble, I (and I think many others) was a little worried that we were going to end up with Charlotte vs Bayley, a match we’ve seen plenty of times by now and don’t need to see again. However, rather uncharacteristically, when faced with two bad options, WWE managed to pick a third option that was better in literally every way and now Rhea Ripley gets to be the absolute star she deserves to be.

As much as I ragged on WWE for mishandling the Smackdown women’s division, the NXT & Raw women’s division have both been on fire for a long time now and that goes double for NXT. Over Survivor Series weekend, Ripley went from a fairly popular babyface to the single most over wrestler on the NXT roster and her title win against Baszler last December is easily one of my favourite WWE moments from last year.

I don’t think Ripley could’ve got a better opponent than Charlotte either. Not only is Charlotte a masterful technical wrestler, but her character and attitude are the polar opposite to everything Rhea Ripley is known for. It creates this perfect underdog story where the rough-around-the-edges personality of Ripley is attempting to prove that she’s on the level of arguably the most successful female wrestler of all time.

I’m picking Rhea Ripley to win here because she just HAS to. Not only is she still incredibly over with the NXT fanbase, but she’s riding such a strong wave of momentum that losing to Charlotte could be catastrophic to her career trajectory. On top of that, how weird would it be if Charlotte was NXT Women’s Champion? I know we’re supposed to see NXT as an equal third brand now, but I just can’t picture Charlotte holding that title and going up against wrestlers like Dakota Kai, Bianca Belair and Io Shirai on a monthly basis, as brilliant as that would probably be.

John Cena vs The Fiend Bray Wyatt
(Firefly Fun House Match)

Well, not a bad consolation prize for Wyatt, admittedly.

In a twist that I don’t think many saw coming, this feud has weirdly benefitted from the lack of a crowd these past few weeks. Wyatt’s always had a much more sinister delivery style, but the total silence of the room he’s in adds so much to that feeling that it genuinely felt extremely creepy. Cena’s done a brilliant job – like he always does – of building up the hype for this match too. He’s playing more into Wyatt’s promo style and presenting himself as a slightly edgier version of himself than normal too. The verbiage Cena’s been using recently as he runs down Wyatt is a little bit of pulling back the curtain, but I think it works for the story that they’re trying to tell.

I honestly don’t know what this match is going to be like, but I feel confident in saying that it’ll be a good one. Wyatt’s brought something unique to the ring every time he’s wrestled as The Fiend and Cena hasn’t put on a bad match since about 2015, so I’m confident they can pull this one-off.

The Fiend Bray Wyatt has to win here. I know I stressed that it was vital for Ripley to win, but I’d argue Wyatt getting the win over Cena is even more important. After being made to look like a total chump against Goldberg at Super ShowDown, The Fiend is on the cusp of going the way of every other unique wrestling character from the past decade. That is to say, absolutely nowhere for the rest of time. If Wyatt loses to Cena, then it’s over, not just for The Fiend but for Wyatt as a whole in the WWE, there’s simply nowhere else for him to go. HOWEVER, a win over Cena will be the perfect way for The Fiend to regain his credibility and it might just be enough for WWE to pull out of this nosedive they’ve taken the character on since February. So this one really needs to happen.

The Undertaker vs AJ Styles
(Boneyard Match)

I’m looking forward to this one, but I’m also a little bit wary of it.

When The Undertaker wrestles a match these days, it’s impossible to tell whether it’s going to be a total shitshow (see Taker vs Goldberg) or surprisingly great (see Taker & Roman vs Drew & Shane) but this is AJ Styles we’re talking about and he can carry just about anyone to a 4-star match. I mean come on, if he can carry Shane McMahon to a surprisingly great Wrestlemania match, he can do the same with The Undertaker, no problem. That said, the idea of a “Boneyard Match” seems a bit weird and one of those situations that’s only happening because of the circumstances. I remain optimistic that it’ll be something unique and interesting, but I’m mostly expecting it to be reminiscent of the House of Horrors; a nice little oddity, but not all that good.

The story for this one’s been a little bit weird as it’s mostly just consisted of Undertaker repeatedly laying AJ out and many people have been criticising this for making people not care about the match, but I wholly disagree, all I ever needed to be fully invested in this match was the sentence: “The Undertaker versus AJ Styles.”

I’d love to say AJ will get the win here, but there’s simply no way that’s happening. There’s no way AJ is going to be getting another world title reign anytime soon and let’s be honest, that’s the only other place to go after you beat The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. The Undertaker is going to walk away with the win here following what was hopefully a really good 20-minute match.

Edge vs Randy Orton
(Last Man Standing)

Another match taking place on-location and I don’t exactly see how this one is going to work. Are they just going to have a ring in a different place from the PC? Or is this actually going to be taking place in someone’s backyard or something? At least with the Boneyard Match, I can picture the kind of atmosphere they’re going for, but this seems a little odd.

That said, it’s Edge’s big return match, so I’ve got very little to complain about. Just looking at that match graphic still fills me with excitement at Edge finally being able to return to the ring. As I didn’t become a wrestling fan until 2013, Edge was already retired by the time I start watching and it’s exciting to be a part of a brand-new match of his that actually stands a chance of being pretty good, unlike many other returning legend’s matches.

I know, it’s a weapons match, involving Randy Orton, which are usually my two biggest turn-offs when it comes to a big match, but there’s so much intensity between these two and such a brilliant story, that I honestly think this could be one hell of a match. Not to mention, since this is Edge’s big return match, I’d say odds are pretty good he’s going to go all-out to prove he’s still got it, which I’m sure he does. Edge is going to win this one because come on…how could he not?

Goldberg(c) vs Braun Strowman
(Universal Championship)

Welp, there goes everything I’d already written about this match.

Despite the question decisions leading up to it, I was actually quite looking forward to Goldberg vs Roman Reigns. I thought it had some real star power behind it and had an outside chance to be a really fun match, in a car-crash sort of way. However, circumstances change and Roman Reigns pulled out of the match due to health concerns(which is 100% a fair decision and people having a go at him for it are just being arseholes. The man had a leukaemia scare last year you heartless wankers).

So now, with about as much ceremony as you’d expect given the situation, Braun Strowman has been inserted in to fight Goldberg instead and…ok? Maybe if WWE were in a position to give us some build for this then I’d be more excited to see it, but as it stands, just seeing these two guys slapped next to each other and being told to fight doesn’t do anything for me. I could sit here and speculate over whether or not I think this will be a good match, but I don’t think much more effort will go into this than the usual Goldberg affair.

As for a winner, I guess it could be seen as up in the air a bit. Goldberg was very obviously supposed to lose the title here to Roman, so they might just go through with that, plus WWE love to “surprise” us with the last-minute replacement winning (although, since they do it almost every time, it’s not much of a surprise). There’s also the fact that I doubt Goldberg will actually be able to lift Strowman up for a Jackhammer, but they can work around that. Despite all that, I’m still going with Goldberg to retain. Once all this is over, Roman is winning that Universal title one way or another and we’ve already seen Roman vs Braun far too much for it to be exciting. There’s also the fact that WWE has shown zero evidence that it’s ever been willing to get behind Braun as a top guy (even though they should) they’ve had so many opportunities over the past three years and they’ve backed away from it every single time.

I certainly wouldn’t be upset if Braun won the title, but I’m still leaning towards Goldberg retaining at the right move here.

Becky Lynch(c) vs Shayna Baszler
(Raw Women’s Championship)

Ohhh, it’s so close I can almost taste it and it tasted wonderful.

This is easily the match I’m most excited in seeing on this show, mostly because of how long it’s been rumoured and how long we’ve had to wait to see if it was actually going to happen, but here we are and I’m hyped.

While many people have seen their interesting waning in Becky Lynch recently, I entirely disagree with that viewpoint. After dispatching of Asuka I think she’s taken a really interesting character turn of not taking any threat seriously and I love that. She’s spent a year on top of the Raw women’s division and has beaten literally everybody, why should she take this upstart seriously? If the match leans into this story as well, then I think we could be in for a brilliant story-heavy match, which tend to be the kinds of matches were Baszler really shines. Her heel-work is outstanding and in order for the audience to buy-in to her big time, she needs to let it flow in every way possible.

As you can probably tell from how much I’m gushing, I think this match is going to be great. Both of these women have already proven themselves time and time again to be two of the best women’s wrestlers on the planet – Shayna in NXT and Becky over the past 18 months on Raw & Smackdown – and seeing them clash like this is bound to be something special and is likely to launch the Raw women’s division into a new era.

As you’ve probably guessed, that “new era” entailed Shayna Baszler taking Becky down and walking away with her championship. Not only would a loss here be potentially devastating for Baszler’s career, knocking her down way too soon in the same way Asuka got knocked down at Wrestlemania 34, but also if Becky did retain, where would she go from here? There’s no-one left for her to fight, even if they did a shake-up, the only wrestler from Smackdown on her level that she hasn’t had a high-profile match with yet is Bayley and she’s tied up in a different storyline. We need fresh matchups and fresh faces at the top of the Raw women’s division to prevent it from stagnating this year and having Shayna at the helm will be the perfect way to do that. Not to mention it could lead to an Okada-Esque downward spiral for Becky that could make for a very interesting story.

Brock Lesnar(c) vs Drew Mcintyre
(WWE Championship)

I honestly didn’t think we were ever going to see this. For the past year, I’ve felt like WWE were never going to get behind Drew like they should. He kept taking really major losses to guys like Ricochet and Dolph Ziggler when he really needed to be winning on a regular basis. Then suddenly, 2020 began and it’s like something totally switched in the minds of creative and they decided Drew needed to be the biggest badass the world has ever seen. Beating Orton & Styles in a triple threat match, eliminating Lesnar from the Royal Rumble and then winning the damn thing after Roman seemed the sure-fire winner and suddenly he’s the most legit title contender Brock’s had in years.

For the longest time, I’d believed Drew was at his best when he was a heel who could destroy just about anyone, but since he’s turned face I’ve been so much more into him as a character because aside from being a wonderful man in real life, he’s transformed into this tough-guy, good-guy that gets what he wants seemingly through sheer force of will and I’m totally behind him now.

I think this will be a great match too. When Brock’s enjoying working with someone, he will go all-out to put on a good match with them, just look at his matches with Styles, Bryan & Rollins for proof of that and from what I’ve seen between these two interacting on TV and what Drew’s been saying in interviews, it’s clear Brock is loving working with Drew. I’m expecting this to be a mega-hoss fight in the best possible way, we’re going to see these two men try to destroy each other in just about every way possible and I think it’s going to be amazing.

I’m always hesitant to pick against Brock, especially considering Vince can lose interest in his pet-projects at any moment, but I’m sticking to my guns and saying Drew Mcintyre is coming away with the title here. Everything about the build to this match just feels like it’s his moment and I really hope it comes to fruition. I don’t often get patriotic, but if this Wrestlemania gives us the first-ever UK-born WWE Champion, it will have a place in my heart forever.

So there you have it! Those are my predictions for the hot-mess that will likely be Wrestlemania 36! Let me know what you think is going to happen, either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo. As this event is running over two nights, I’m going to wait until Monday and review both nights as a whole, ranking every match across both nights in one big article. So I hope to see you there!

WWE Elimination Chamber 2020: Every Match Ranked

The final PPV before Wrestlemania (I fucking hope) is finally in the books and…yeah, it was alright, I guess. It pretty much exactly met my expectations, most of the matches that I thought would be good were good and the ones that I thought would be boring were boring and in the end, I think the show came out at about 50/50 in terms of quality and ultimately, I don’t think it was a necessary stop on the way to Wrestlemania.

Let’s look at the matches then.

8 – The Viking Raiders def. Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins
(Kickoff Show)

Remember every pre-show tag team match from the past two years? Yeah, this was one of those only slightly shorter.

It honestly blows my mind who in WWE took a look at the Viking Raiders and thought “yeah, let’s have Hawkins & Ryder get in loads of offence against them”, so what if they’re former Raw Tag Champions? I bet most people didn’t even remember that was a thing until I just said it right then. I don’t want to be that guy who sits around and moans about how Raw & Smackdown “bury” NXT talent, but I think the sheer lack of interest whoever’s running Raw is showing the Viking Raiders is an absolutely huge waste.

Yes, I know, they won the match, but this should’ve been a 2-minute squash at best, but whatever, not like anyone’s going to remember or care about it by the time Raw airs.

7 – Sami Zayn & Shinsuke Nakamura & Cesaro def. Braun Strowman(c)
(Intercontinental Championship)
(3 on 1 Handicap)

Oh…well ok then.

I don’t quite know how to feel about this if I’m honest. I mean, the match was an absolute bore, hence why it’s placed this low but in terms of the result, I can see both sides. On the one hand, it’s a disaster for Strowman, not just the result, but how he looked throughout the match too. This is a man we’ve seen get up from just about anything, he spent months getting beaten down by Roman Reigns and continuously getting back up, for God’s sake, this is the guy who was in the back of an ambulance as it crashed, at speed, into a wall and WALKED AWAY, but apparently, Nakamura stomping him in the corner 2 minutes into the match is enough to keep him down.

I mentioned in my predictions that any result other than Strowman winning would be a massive anti-climax and to a certain extent, I stand by that. The whole match felt so desperately like it was building to Strowman coming back and wiping the floor with all three of them, but that never came to pass. Instead, they did that weird-ass looking suplex/kick to the head that honestly looks so weak and Sami Zayn won the Intercontinental Championship.

Now…

Sami Zayn winning the Intercontinental Championship is a good thing, of course it is. Zayn’s been so undervalued for so long and to see him finally win a title is brilliant. However. I think Strowman retaining would’ve been a better option, especially if the result of this is just going to be Strowman squashing Zayn at Mania, which it probably will be. Maybe I’m wrong and if this turns into a really entertaining heel reign as champion then I’ll hold my hands up and admit it, but I’m not optimistic.

6 – Aleister Black def. AJ Styles
(No Disqualification)

It pains me to do this, it really does, but this match sucked.

While I understand the no DQ stipulation was necessary to tell the story they wanted to tell, but it totally screwed the match in terms of quality. I know that these two could put on a fever-pitched classic if they were given the opportunity, but instead, this started slow and got slower as it went on. It wasn’t all boring, I did enjoy the focus on the leg because it makes perfect sense when fighting a guy like Black and it led to a rather tense spot as Styles locked in the Calf Crusher.

This match certainly wasn’t helped by a completely dead crowd. I understand why though. They’d just watched a rather tiring Chamber match and they were waiting for The Undertaker to show up, but it definitely detracted from my enjoyment of the match and likely contributed to the slow pace. Speaking of The Undertaker, although his appearance was predictable, it was still exciting and was absolutely the right move for both the story and the general context of both guy’s strength on the current roster.

While I would’ve liked Black to win without any assists, it wasn’t feasible when Styles had to be kept strong for The Undertaker. I’d rather they hadn’t booked this match at all, but since they did, I think this was the best way to get out of it. Doesn’t make it interesting to watch though.

5 – The Steet Profits(c) def. Seth Rollins & Murphy
(Raw Tag Team Championships)

I’ll be honest, I was quite disappointed with how this one turned out.

After their entertaining showing at Super ShowDown, I was expecting this match to build off of that and put on a really fun tag match, but instead, I don’t think it ever quite got going. Things were nice and fast out of the gate and I thought that everyone involved here had a strong sense of character and it made all of the story beats – including Viking Raiders showing up to deal with AOP – quite entertaining and I continue to become more and more involved in this story as a whole.

After Rollins & Murphy took control towards the middle, I thought we were building to somewhat of an explosive final 5 minutes once Ford got the hot-tag, but it just didn’t happen. There were hints of it in there, but I didn’t find any of the action all the engaging and then Kevin Owens showed up (with some top-notch acting to be fair) and the whole match just sort of stopped to focus on that instead. The finish that came immediately after it felt quite sudden too and I was left feeling quite deflated by the end of it all.

4 – Shayna Baszler def. Sarah Logan & Ruby Riott & Natalya & Liv Morgan & Asuka
(Winner faces Becky Lynch at Wrestlemania)

Ok, we can all breathe a sigh of relief, they didn’t fuck it up.

Probably the only thing on this show to actually matter, this match did everything we wanted it to do for Shayna Baszler. She wiped the floor with absolutely everyone and looked like a monster in the process, a lot of the offence she got in looked absolutely brutal and I’m not entirely sure Liv Morgan is ever going to be able to walk again after Baszler damn near caved her head in at certain points.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t the most entertaining match to watch. Riott & Natalya started off well enough, but everything they were doing is stuff we’ve seen in Elimination Chamber matches seemingly hundreds of times before and I can’t say I was all that engaged by it. Then, once Baszler got in and had dispatched of everyone, we just had to watch her shouting at the people in the pod for what felt like forever and I just lost interest. Don’t get me wrong, you’ve gotta have a bit of that to help Baszler look great, but it dragged on for way too long and it’s not like anyone would care if the clock ran down a little faster. I was hoping we’d get a little bit more between Baszler & Asuka at the end, but I’m ok with it going shorter than it could’ve because you don’t want to give that away right now when it could be a big match later down the line.

Although I have my complaints, I’m happy with how this all turned out. It’s a rare case with WWE, where I’m fine with forgiving something not quite as good right now because I’m confident it’s going to lead to something really great in a month or so.

3 – Andrade(c) def. Humberto Carrillo
(United States Championship)

You know, it’s only just dawned on me exactly how long this feud has been going on. No wonder they’re putting on matches like this after so much time together.

After many months of not quite understanding who Carrillo is, the stuff with Garza has helped Carrillo grow a bit of an edge to him as a character and I think it’s helped his in-ring style too. He felt a lot more hard-hitting here and I’m finally getting behind him more as a character than I have been in previous encounters.

This lead to what I thought was quite an entertaining match. It started out fast and furious and it really got the crowd involved for the length of the match. Things slowed in the middle but I think it kept the action fresh for when things eventually began to accelerate again. The finish was a little weird, but I do have a soft spot for spots with constant roll-ups and it’s a rare treat that one of them actually gets the win. I perhaps would’ve preferred a clean finish, but this gives Carrillo a decent enough excuse to get himself in on whatever multi-man affair happens around Mania, so I think it’s fair enough.

2 – The Miz & John Morrison(c) def. Lucha House Party & Heavy Machinery & Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode & The New Day & The Usos
(Smackdown Tag Team Championships)
(Elimination Chamber)

Once again, this was about as good as I was expecting it to be, which is pretty nice.

Usos vs New Day was easily the best choice to start things out and it kept the action going for long enough until the ring started to fill up. Each subsequent team that entered each added something new to the action, I was surprised that Lucha House Party looked as good as they did and once Miz & Morrison got involved, it added a lot of great heel work into the action. Heavy Machinery are also on an absolute tear right now. I’m still not entirely behind them as characters, but as wrestlers, I totally get it now.

There were downsides though. For one thing, I don’t think there was enough good use of the time between entrants. There seemed to be a big spot when a team first enters and just before the next team enters, but a lot of the time in between was spent milling around or with some rather boring action, it would’ve been nice to see some actual interesting wrestling while waiting for more entrants.

When I say “interesting wrestling” I don’t mean more dives off the top of the pod because, by my count, there were five of these in this match (six if you count Ziggler being thrown off by Tucker) and it’s just not an impactful spot anymore. Speaking of, Dorado’s Moonsault from the top of the chamber looked cool, although the setup was a bit weird as all of the wrestlers were watching him climb around and we all just had to pretend not to notice until he was in position.

Once things got down to the final three business really picked up and I had a lot of fun watching the action. Miz & Morrison did exactly what they needed to do, picking their spots to get the eliminations at the perfect moments and the final battle between them and The Usos was a magnificent little sequence that whetted my appetite for more of it in the weeks and months to come.

Overall, it won’t go down as one of the best chamber matches ever, but for what it was I really enjoyed it, especially towards the end when the pace accelerated exponentially until the finish.

1 – Daniel Bryan def. Drew Gualk

Oh, so we’re treating Gulak like a real wrestler now? Took you long enough.

This was such an interesting match to watch because it’s not the kind of style we see very often in WWE anymore. This mat-based style of wrestling walks such a fine line between being tense & interesting and slow & boring, luckily, this landed on the better side of that line. It was never a match that was never going to pop a modern American crowd, but I still think it did wonders for Gulak’s credibility.

I really got into the story being told here and I just loved how Gulak seemed to have just about everything in Bryan’s arsenal scouted. It gives the impression of him being the thinking man’s heel, winning matches through actually being smart, rather than cheating. Bryan filled his role here perfectly too, being surprised by Gulak’s competence early on but slowly feeling him out and adapting to his style, eventually getting to the point where Bryan could also counter whatever Gulak was throwing his way.

The finish was brilliant too because it didn’t make Gulak look weak, despite the fact he tapped. The way Bryan so smoothly slipped into the LeBelle lock gives me in the impression that Bryan learnt Gulak’s game and adapted, while Gulak stuck to his gameplan and couldn’t quite out-think Bryan once he started innovating. I’m not sure where this will lead, but I just hope it’s somewhere, I think WWE have stumbled upon a really interesting story here and they shouldn’t let it slip through their fingers.

And there you have it! Those are my thoughts on Elimination Chamber 2020. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this and please let me know what you thought of the show, either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo. Finally, make sure to come back this time on Saturday where I’ll be running down my favourite Virtual Reality games!

WWE Super ShowDown 2020: Every Match Ranked

Another Saudi Arabia show is in the bag and…do you know what? I actually thought it was ok. Not great, not by a long way, but I don’t think there was anything particularly bad on the show and overall it was certainly no worse than any other B-show WWE PPV these days. The matches were still plagued with the standard problems that come with having to fly for 14 hours, spend two days running the media circuit and then wrestle in 100 degrees Farenhieght.

Let’s get to breaking down the matches.

9 – Goldberg def. The Fiend Bray Wyatt(c)
(Universal Championship)

Fine, whatever.

8 – Brock Lesnar(c) def. Ricochet
(WWE Championship)

Yup, thought so.

7 – Roman Reigns def. King Corbin
(Steel Cage)

It’s over! It’s finally over! Assuming Michael Cole didn’t lie to us about that…alright so maybe it’s not over.

Probably unsurprisingly, this match didn’t have anything interesting going on with it. What little in-ring chemistry Reigns & Corbin had has since been played out beyond the point of it being entertaining and the addition of the Steel Cage into the mix didn’t help the match quality at all. All it did was mean that every minute or so the action had to stop so one man could very slowly climb the cage only to be thwarted by the other.

Even though these two will technically be facing each other in the Elimination Chamber next Sunday, I’m just glad that we’re finally at a point where we can say we’re done with this feud. If Reigns vs Goldberg really is the plan then I actually think there could be some good stuff there, even if I would’ve preferred Reigns vs The Fiend and quite honestly, I couldn’t give less of a shit about who Corbin fights next.

6 – Mansoor def. Dolph Ziggler

Now we enter the “just fine” portion of the show, where the matches are enjoyable, but nothing noteworthy.

As far as opponents for Mansoor goes, I think Ziggler was a pretty good choice, admittedly, Dolph Ziggler as a heel seems to think that “slow the pace down and only do headlocks for offence” is the only possible way he can do it, which isn’t ideal, but Mansoor spent a pretty good portion of the match on offence and the match didn’t feel too slow.

In terms of Mansoor winning, that’s great, but like I say every time he does one of these shows, there’s no point in doing any of this or giving him these wins if you’re not going to feature him on other shows and try to build him into an actual star. I know that with this show WWE proved to us all that they just don’t want any new stars and would rather have the ones from yesteryear, but if you’re going to treat Mansoor like this big heroic wrestler, then us see him wrestle more than twice a year.

5 – Angel Garza def. Humberto Carrillo

Another match that was just fine.

I thought this match was enjoyable, it held my attention the entire way through and showed off a lot of what these guys have to offer, however, they’ve had better matches together before and they will almost certainly have better matches together in the coming weeks too.

My main problem with this whole feud comes with it’s proximity to Wrestlemania because unfortunately, it’s not a big enough match to get a one-on-one blowoff on that show, so it’ll probably end with one of them eliminating the other in the ARMBAR. I like both Garza & Carrillo, but there’s only a limited amount I feel ok with investing in both of these guys because time and time again, WWE will spend a couple of months building guys like this up, only to suddenly drop them with no explanation. I hope that doesn’t happen here, but I’m remaining cautious.

4 – Bayley(c) def. Naomi
(Smackdown Women’s Championship)

Wow, Naomi’s entrance looks like crap when she’s not allowed to wear any of the glowing stuff.

Much like many other matches on this list, it was better than I was expecting in the circumstances. I’m sure the two of them could put on a much better match if they weren’t so restricted, but I think they did a good job with the hand they were dealt. The action the match followed was still a fair basic formula, but I thought it was an enjoyable incarnation of that formula, Bayley is really finding what heel style works best for her and she was able to ground and slow the action without resulting to five minutes of boring rest-holds.

Naomi’s comebacks were kind of exciting but again, she didn’t seem to be able to do a lot of her more crowd popping moves (speaking of the crowd, they were dead silent for this one). Even though Bayley won clean, there is the element of a dirty finish in there with Bayley using Naomi’s government-mandated shirt to trap her legs, so there’s room for Naomi to claim a rematch if that’s the route they want to go down, which at this point, I think it probably is.

3 – The Undertaker won the Turwaiq Trophy Gauntlet Match

Well, the in-ring action wasn’t anything interesting, but the storytelling was pretty compelling.

To be entirely honest, when I saw R-Truth starting off against Bobby Lashley, I thought we were in for 3 or 4 matches of Lashley running through people until Mysterio came out, but the way they turned it around and had R-Truth picking up a bunch of surprising victories over some fairly imposing heels was a lot of fun. Going through the 24/7 Championship stuff over the past year has led us all the slightly forget that Truth is actually a very capable wrestler when he wants to be and I found myself rooting for him with each victory in this match.

Then there’s the stuff with The Undertaker, which to be entirely honest with you, I thought was goofy and cheesy, but absolutely brilliant. The way the scene was set up with The OC beating down on Rey Mysterio only for that to suddenly be turned around to the OC getting beaten up. I particularly loved the way those black boots & coat stepped into frame, it was a nice variation on revealing The Undertaker outside of the usual gong hitting. It built this hype towards the entrance because we all knew it was The Undertaker, but first, they wanted to make us really want to see The Undertaker.

I doubt we’ll ever see the trophy again and it’s certainly not going to be mentioned in The Undertaker’s eventual Hall of Fame induction, but the story told throughout the phases of this match was well-done and quite enjoyable.

2 – The Miz & John Morrison def. The New Day(c)
(Smackdown Tag Team Championships)

Don’t worry everyone, the tag teams will save the day with good matches!

This is the first time since his return that I’ve actually been glad that he’s back. The stuff he’s been doing in the build to this has been fun and all, but this is the first time that I’ve been able to see the value in him returning as an active competitor in the company. It’s no secret that for the majority of 2018, The Miz was floundering as a face and once his short feud with Bray Wyatt was over, it was entirely possible that he was going to go right back to that formula, happily, his reuniting with Morrison has made The Miz as a face and interesting character again and I’m very glad they’ve won the titles.

Once again, this match was slightly slower than it probably would’ve been under normal circumstances, but I still thought it was a very enjoyable watch. Big E felt like the MVP of the match to me as he seemed to be able to keep the pace going just enough throughout the moments where it seemed like the action was dropping. Although the chair shot was a little “blink and you miss it” it’s entirely in-keeping with Miz & Morrison as characters and gives The New Day plenty of reason to get back on their feet and keep this feud rolling into Wrestlemania, where hopefully, they’ll get a chance to tear the house down.

1 – Seth Rollins & Murphy(c) def. The Street Profits
(Raw Tag Team Championships)

I really don’t understand why people seem to be down on Rollins & Murphy as tag champs, it seems to me like they’re exactly what the Raw tag division needed to become interesting again.

As I mentioned in my predictions, Rollins has slid so naturally back into a heel role and this new Farcry 5 esque spin on his heel persona has been such great fun to watch in recent weeks. Thankfully, this also extends to the matches, where I think all four guys involved got a chance to feature themselves and keep the fun rolling the whole way through the match. Rollins seems to be learning his lessons from his last heel run and is able to make himself look beatable in the ring, without looking like a total chump. This extends to Murphy too, who I’m very glad is still being treated like a competent wrestler, rather than a bumbling sidekick.

Given how little build The Street Profits had for this match, I’m very glad they weren’t just cast aside like they were no threat to the champions at all and that Rollins & Murphy had to resort to slightly underhanded tactics to win the match. I’m not entirely confident that any of the credibility gained in this match will carry over for very long into the coming weeks and months, but for this moment at least, I think this match was nothing but beneficial to everyone involved AND it was a lot of fun to watch.

So there you have it! Those are my thoughts on WWE Super ShowDown, thank you very much for taking the time to read this. Please, let me know what your thoughts on the show are, either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo. Finally, make sure you come back this way next Saturday as WWE give us little time to breathe, and I’ll be covering Elimination Chamber!

WWE Extreme Rules 2019: Predictions & Analysis

The promised land of Summerslam is just beyond the horizon, I can almost feel it’s warm glow, but first, we’ve got to make a stop off at Extreme Rules, a card that I’m not really sure what to make of. There are plenty of matches that have the promise to be great, but there is also a lot of the treading water that we saw from Stomping Grounds.

Ultimately I’m not going to make a call on how I think this show will be remembered because it really could go either way. It wouldn’t surprise me if we were talking about the worst PPV of the year come Monday, but it also would be surprising if we’re all pleasantly surprised like we were for Stomping Grounds.

What I can call, however, are the results of the matches, so let’s do that instead.

The Revival(c) vs The Usos
(Raw Tag Team Championships)

I can’t believe myself.

I should be so excited about this match, it’s my favourite tag team against the best tag team and I just don’t care. The Raw tag team division has been non-existent for so long now that I can’t bear to have any optimism towards it anymore, it does have the upside of keeping the Cruiserweights off of the pre-show, but it means that I’m not even vaguely invested in some of the best talent in WWE right now.

I hope this match will be good and it has all the potential to, but I don’t think it’s going to be given the time to breathe that it really needs to be a great match. Not to mention The Revival have been treated as such a joke when it comes to the main roster that this could very well end up being a squash match.

Either way, The Usos need to win this one, because that is the only chance the Raw tag division has of being pulled out of this rutt it’s been in for all of 2019, if The Revival retain, as much as I love them, it’ll be another month of the titles barely being on TV and probably not on Summerslam at all, at least they have a chance of doing some good around The Uso’s waists.

Drew Gulak(c) vs Tony Nese
(Cruiserweight Championship)

Please, just let them be on the main show for once.

I feel like I say this every month (because I do), but it really is true that these guys are putting on matches twice as good as almost everyone who makes the main card and they deserve the spotlight. I don’t understand how you can expect 205 Live’s ratings to improve when you refuse to put them in front of audiences when they’re actually watching.

Regardless, Gulak has been great so far as Cruiserweight Champion. The Cruiserweight title is one of those titles that always seems to do way better around the waist of a heel than a face and Drew is probably the best character on the whole show right now. Conversely, Tony Nese is someone who always does much better chasing the title than holding it, so this is a much better position for him to be in going into this match.

As such, a one on one match between these two should be something great to watch, no matter when it goes on because these guys are at the peak of their performances as characters. There must be a winner though and I feel confident in saying that winner will be Drew Gulak, I can’t see how it would be to anyone’s benefit to hotshot the title back onto Nese right now, especially with people like Akira Tozowa and Oney Lorcan nipping at Drew’s heels for the coming months.

Daniel Bryan & Rowan(c) vs The New Day vs Heavy Machinery
(Smackdown Tag Team Championships)

In this week’s episode of Daniel Bryan vs The World…

As much as Big E & Xavier Woods have been doing great as the backup to WWE Champion Kofi Kingston so far this year, I think that giving them something of their own to do again was a great move, since there was the risk of both men fading too far into the background in the wake of Kofi’s title win. Heavy Machinery also made a big impact with their match at Stomping Grounds, even if the crowd turned on them in favour of their hometown boy, so keeping them in the scene like this is another good move, otherwise, all of their momentum would’ve been squandered.

I have high hopes that this match will be great, New Day are at their best when big tag team matches like this descend into chaos and they can do all of their crazy spots, meanwhile you’ve got big guys like Otis and Rowan there for the high impact stuff to really shock the crowd and then there’s Daniel Bryan, who I’ve sung the praises of enough in these articles for you to know he’ll make this match rock.

I’m actually struggling to pick a winner as well because I’m honestly not sure. Heavy Machinery winning the tag titles seems like the next logical step for their accent in the tag team scene, while I can also see all three members of The New Day holding titles all at the same time. I’m going to stick to my guns for now though and say Daniel Bryan & Rowan will retain, hopefully leading to them vs New Day 2 on 2 at Summerslam in a fantastic match.

Aleister Black vs Cesaro

Finally.

I’ve talked about how great I think Aleister Black is many times before, so as you can imagine I’m very excited to see him in a singles match on a PPV at last, even if it probably won’t be very long.

Cesaro is the absolutely perfect opponent for Black, their in-ring styles matchup so perfectly that I think these two could put on one of the greatest matches we’ve ever seen if the show was called Takeover. As it stands it’s not and I imagine this match will be quite short as a result. Cesaro isn’t very high on the pecking order at the moment, so I think it’s important to give Black a reasonably quick win over him here, then they can go on and have a 15-minute classic at Summerslam instead.

Regardless of the length of the match, Aleister Black most certainly winning this one, then we can finally get on with making this dude a world champion.

Ricochet(c) vs AJ Styles
(United States Championship)

AJ Styles is a heel now because if there’s one thing Raw needed more of, it was heels at the top of the card.

That said, I do prefer heel AJ Styles to any other AJ Styles and the character really needed a shakeup after his far too long title reign last year made us all bored of him, it just might not be the best for the product overall.

That aside, I don’t think anyone would argue with me when I say that this match will be great. Even if it does have a non-finish (which seems likely), I have faith that these two will put on a fantastic match leading up until that point. Styles is great at making the slower, more technical pace of a heel very entertaining to watch and I think it’ll contrast fantastically with Ricochet trying to burst out and flip until he can’t flip no more.

As I mentioned though, I don’t think this match is going to have a clean finish because there’s a lot of conflicting factors coming into this one. You’ve got the brand new United States Champion Ricochet, who can’t lose his title in his second defence, then you’ve got a freshly heel-turned Styles who would have all this newfound momentum taken out from under him if he loses; and they’ve already used up the “surprise roll-up” face win on Raw, so we won’t be seeing it again. It’s a tough one to pick and I think I’m going to regret this pick the closer it gets to the show, but I think Ricochet is going to come away with the win, probably by disqualification when The Club gets involved or something.

Braun Strowman vs Bobby Lashley
(Last Man Standing)

This match could very well end with one of these guys dying.

Under any other circumstances, I wouldn’t care about this match in the slightest, Strowman’s great, but Lashley isn’t a very good fit of an opponent for him, we’ve seen many times that guys equal to Strowman’s size aren’t great opponents for him. However, the combination of the stage explosion on Raw and the addition of the Last Man Standing stipulation have drawn me in.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure this match will be just as slow as any other match between these two guys, but if they keep the attitude of the stage explosion spot going, then the sheer spectacle of what these two do in this match could completely overshadow the boring in-between bits. That said, if this just ends up being a standard Last Man Standing match, then it’s gonna be boring as piss.

I don’t know who the winner will be either, because ultimately, it doesn’t matter. It’s not like either of these guys is going to be fighting for the Universal title at Summerslam, so there’s not a lot to gain for the winner. I’m going to go with Braun Strowman because WWE doesn’t seem to care very much about how many losses they feed Bobby Lashley and Strowman desperately needs something important to do.

Bayley(c) vs Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross
(Smackdown Women’s Championship)
(2 on 1 Handicap)

Well, this just got a whole lot more interesting.

All of the stuff with Nikki and Alexa over the past few months has been great to watch, it’s made Alexa seem like a master manipulator, pulling Nikki in like this, but it doesn’t do it at Nikki’s expense because when she’s challenged by other people, she stands up for herself. I don’t get the impression that Nikki’s going along with Alexa just because she’s too thick to see the forest through the trees, but because in her experiences, Alexa is the only person to actually show Nikki any decency.

That said, the turn is coming like a freight train, but I’m not sure who’s turning on who. It makes the most sense for Nikki to cost Alexa the match here and Alexa will lose her shit about it, but I personally think a slow burn would be a bit more interesting.  A scenario where Alexa loses the match but blames Nikki anyway would be a lot more interesting, or even Nikki pinning Bayley to win the title and Alexa takes all the credit.

This match is very much going to be focused on the story between Nikki and Alexa and while it could benefit the match, I feel more like it’ll be to its detriment, I’m not sure though. Speaking of not sure, I’ve got to pick a winner and I’m going to go with Bayley. As much as I think Alexa & Nikki winning the title would be interesting, Bayley needs to hold onto that title at least another month because her title reign is in danger of going down the same route as her previous one, which is not a good thing. Bring Sasha Banks out to beat the piss out of Bayley after the match, that’ll fix things.

The Undertaker & Roman Reigns vs Shane McMahon & Drew Mcintyre
(No Holds Barred)

Alright, hands up, who saw this one coming? If you just put your hand up, you’re a liar.

After Super Show Down, I didn’t think we were going to see The Undertaker again for quite a while, so I was very surprised indeed when he showed up on Raw to take out Shane McMahon and Drew Mcintyre, the only problem is, we still haven’t’ really been told why. He’s proclaimed some vague bollocks about wanting Shane’s soul and how Shane’s ego has cost him his soul or something like that, but why wait until now? And why team up with Roman Reigns? There’s no much about this that doesn’t make sense.

Originally I thought this was going to lead to some sort of Roman vs Taker rematch for Summerslam, but if every news site and dirt sheet under the sun is to be believed, we’re actually moving towards Taker vs Drew instead, which I’m very much in favour of.

I’m really not sure how good this match will be, Undertaker will definitely benefit from having to carry most of the match and I imagine a lot of it will be Shane and Drew wearing Roman down before he can make the hot tag to Taker and I don’t think that’s going to be particularly entertaining. With any luck, around the halfway point, this thing will devolve into chaos, since that tends to be when tag team matches are at their most entertaining, especially in a weapons match. That said, none of these guys are good at working fast paced matches, and a slow, plodding weapons match will be just awful.

I’m not sure who to pick as the winner though. On the one hand, how could they justify a Drew vs Taker match with Roman and Taker win here, but also I refuse to allow Shane McMahon to have a win over The fucking Undertaker. I’m gonna go with The Undertaker & Roman Reigns but I’m not all that confident about it and Shane needs to be the one to take the pin.

Kofi Kingston(c) vs Samoa Joe
(WWE Championship)

Well, now I’m conflicted…

I’m really struggling with who I want to win this match. On the one hand, I’ve loved Kofi’s reign as WWE Champion and it’s been really refreshing to have a face champion that doesn’t get the shit kicked out of him every single week, but on the other hand, Samoa Joe. I’ve wanted Joe to be WWE Champion for ages and this seems like the best opportunity we’re ever going to get, but I’m not sure I can see it happening.

Joe’s been great since starting this feud, as he always is when he’s chasing a title. That power hungry, destroyer character is always the best for Samoa Joe and for some reason chasing a major title always brings that out of him. I’m sure this match will be great too, we all know Joe can work with smaller guys fantastically, his match with Ricochet at Stomping Grounds proved that (if you weren’t already convinced). I also think this will benefit from not being a weapons match since I think both of these two guys work better with a technical style.

I’m really torn on a winner though, this feels like the first time in Kofi’s reign where I can actually see him losing the title, but I’m not sure they’d pull a title change on a B-Show so close to Summerslam, but at the same time I’m not sure if this is a multi-month feud, this could quite easily be a one and done thing for Joe and if that’s the case then he’s definitely not winning the title. I’m going to play it safe for now and say Kofi Kingston using the logic that if the title is going to change hands, it’ll happen at Summerslam, but I’m not confident in the slightest.

Seth Rollins(c) & Becky Lynch(c) vs Baron Corbin & Lacey Evans
(Universal Championship)
(Raw Women’s Championship)
(Extreme Rules)

Yes, more Baron Corbin and Lacey Evans title matches, that’ll show those Bucks.

I mean, what can I say about this feud that I haven’t already said a thousand times before over the past few months? Lacey’s getting there, but is still way too green for the spot she’s in, I still don’t like Baron Corbin, and Seth & Becky are definitely going to retain. I’ve honestly not been a fan of this pair being so forced together on TV lately because I really get the impression from them that they’d rather not be doing it. We also get stuff like that interview segment from two weeks ago, where these two people who clearly have some sort of off-screen chemistry (since, you know, they’re in a relationship) were given some of the most forced, fake chemistry type of dialogue I’ve seen on WWE TV in a long time.

The match itself could go either way, like I said about the other No DQ  tag match, if it descends into chaos early on and keeps up that pace it’ll be great and these guys have a better chance of pulling that off than the guys in the other tag match. I just don’t have much faith in that actually happening, my hatred for weapons matches is well known and I really think this is going be another slow paced match where about 5 minutes are spent setting a spot up, only for them to immediately move onto the next one. I’m holding onto the small amount of hope that it could be good though…I think.

As for a winner, there’s no question Seth Rollins & Becky Lynch retaining is easily the lock of the night. In a time like this where it’s crucial that WWE remains competitive, putting the titles on Corbin & Lacey would be the equivalent of WCW putting the title on Arquette and Russo in the year 2000, it’d be such a stupid move, and WWE isn’t that stupid.

…right?

Anyway, those are my predictions for Extreme Rules 2019! Thank you very much for reading, let me know what you think is going to happen either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo. Make sure to come back here early next week for my review of the show!