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!

WWE Stomping Grounds 2019: Every Match Ranked

Well, that was yet another lesson in never getting my hopes up when WWE is involved.

So Stomping Grounds is in the bag and honestly, as a whole, it wasn’t too bad of a show, the first two hours were filled with ok-good matches and there weren’t any crappy finishes to drag things down. That said, once the third hour started the show just drove off of a cliff and never recovered because if it wasn’t for Super Showdown, it’d be the worst hour and a half of wrestling I’ve seen all year. It wasn’t all bad of course, but given that the major three matches failed to deliver, it’s not left the best of tastes in everyone’s mouths.

So, here’s every match from Stomping Grounds 2019 ranked.

9 – Seth Rollins(c) def. Baron Corbin
(Universal Championship)
(Special Guest Referee: Lacey Evans)

I’m of two minds when it comes to Lacey as the referee. On one hand, it’s a clever way for Corbin to get around the problem of Seth trying to murder all of his referees and is someone I genuinely wasn’t expecting to see. On the other hand, the moment it was revealed that it was Lacey, everyone knew how Seth was going to get out of the problem, the crowd were chanting for Becky before the match even started and commentary had been playing up the relationship between Becky & Seth for weeks.

That predictability also made for an extremely boring match leading up until that point and it didn’t help that WWE really overplayed their hand here. This whole thing did not need to be 18 minutes long, it could’ve been done in half of that and not lost anything. In a match like this where everyone knows how it’s going to end, you just need to hit the key points of Lacey screwing Seth over in a few ways and then hit the big finish, instead of doing what they did which was draw it out until we’d all had enough of it, and then draw it out some more.

Please, just no more Seth vs Corbin matches, and please be more creative about it than a mixed tag match too, this really doesn’t have the legs to go any further.

8 – Kofi Kingston(c) def. Dolph Ziggler
(WWE Championship)
(Steel Cage)

Well, that just proved my theory that the Steel Cage match between The Miz and Shane McMahon last month was the exception, not the rule.

When Kofi & Ziggler had an underwhelming match at Super Showdown, I gave them the benefit of the doubt because of the situation surrounding the Saudi Arabia shows, but somehow they managed to make this match worse. It started off ok, with a bunch of back and forth as each man would try to get a quick escape from a cage, but that didn’t seem to last very long, because about halfway through, the whole thing just because 10 minutes of rest holds.

Ziggler was “working Kofi’s leg” for so damn long that I totally switched off and started paying attention to other things, and when that spot finally ended, they had a very short sequence of fun moves and went right back to it. Following that, we got several minutes of the guys laying by the door knowing they clearly weren’t going to escape, before and admittedly brilliant finish, where Kofi just launched himself out of the cage.

I just don’t understand why anyone involved in this match thought this would be entertaining to watch. I can see how a more old-school fan might get something out of it, but even then it doesn’t really seem like anything great. You can’t just have the match stop for 10 minutes right before the finish and expect everyone to love it.

7 – Roman Reigns def. Drew Mcintyre

I mean, this wasn’t great, but at least there was something to it.

WWE really need to just let Drew be a monster because this slow, rest-hold style of matches really aren’t doing him any favours at all. Drew is brilliant when he destroys people with high impact offence and refuses to let up, the same with Roman, but for some reason he’s forced to work this boring as fuck style that simply serves as a set up to pop the crowd when his opponent makes a comeback, which isn’t any fun to watch.

Unfortunately, that’s what most of this match was. It had a few entertaining moments scattered throughout it though, like whenever Shane got involved, and towards the finish when Drew and Roman were trading big hits. There wasn’t enough to this match for me to really sink my teeth into it though, there were hints of the awesome Roman vs Drew match we all want in there, but it’s marred by a sea of rest holds and boring wrestling.

Hopefully, the handicap match on Raw is the end of it, because I really don’t want to sit through another month of this crap, just let Roman wrestle someone else for a change like…I dunno, The Shining Stars, it’ll probably be more entertaining than this.

6 – Becky Lynch(c) def. Lacey Evans
(Raw Women’s Championship)

Let’s play a fun game, it’s called: How many times does Lacey Evans have to show the world she’s absolutely not ready before WWE stop giving her big PPV matches?

This was very much a match of two halves, with the first being pretty bad and the second being pretty good. The first half of this match really couldn’t find it’s footing all that well, they were going back and forth kind fo awkwardly with wrestling that was fine, but didn’t really grab my attention in any major way, then a few minutes in Lacey made that very obvious botch where she failed to get into position for Becky’s backward kick off of the turnbuckle, forcing Becky to have to do it a second time. Once that happened, the crowd jumped on her with “Lacey sucks” and “You can’t wrestle” chants filling the arena, which seemed to throw her off her game for a little while.

She did eventually recover though and I quite enjoyed the second half of the match, even if it was a little bit hard to ignore Becky calling spots directly down the microphone. The action in the second half of the match picked up in a major way and I thought the two developed some pretty good chemistry as the finish rolled around, it’s time for Becky to move onto something else though because Lacey just isn’t ready to consistently be in this spot.

5 – Daniel Bryan & Rowan(c) def. Heavy Machinery
(Smackdown Tag Team Championships)

It certainly didn’t take a genius to guess whose home town we were in.

Honestly, though, I felt the crowd really added a lot to this match, I just wish they’d let the wrestlers play to it a bit more. The crowd here were treating Heavy Machinery how I personally treat all of Daniel Bryan’s opponents by desperately not wanting them to win at all and Bryan tried to play to it a bit, but still stuck to the heel tendencies.

The match itself was a fun watch, but it did show off everything I hate about Heavy Machinery, like when Bryan was doing the Yes! Kicks and Otis was thrusting his hips and having a spasm on his feet, it’s not the 80’s anymore, that stuff just looks stupid now. That said, this match did a lot to make Heavy Machinery look good in defeat since realistically you could argue that they only lost thanks to Bryan’s experience and veteran instincts, having the wear with all to make the small package.

If anything is going to revive the tag division in WWE, it’s Bryan & Rowan going on an absolute tear with these titles, having great matches with every tag team on Smackdown and this was certainly a good start.

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

This match was one that very much had the potential to go either way and thankfully it landed on the side of good. There aren’t many complaints I have about this match, I think for the most part the wrestling was very solid, and these two clearly work well together in the ring. I didn’t really reach that upper level of being a great match, but it was certainly more than I was expecting going in.

Alexa seemed to wrestle a lot less heelish in this match, there was still an element of her “full of herself” persona, but there was a lot less taunting, outside of screaming at the ref whenever he tried to remind her of the rules, but for the most part, she wrestled clean. Bayley’s always been great as the beaten down babyface, and it’s always so much fun to watch her rally and make the comeback and this match was no exception.

I’m a little confused about the finish though, commentary tried to claim that Alexa pulled Nikki in the way of Bayley’s dive but to me, it looked more like Nikki didn’t move and pushed Alexa out of the way. I’m even more confused by what happened next because Nikki got in the ring like she was about to attack Bayley because she’s so crazy and just couldn’t control herself, but then 30 seconds later when Bayley’s about to win the match, Nikki suddenly can control herself?

I guess I’m just being a bit overly nitpicky about it, but it struck me as odd when it went down, I also thought Bayley shoving Nikki after the match was a nice touch and I love where Bayley’s character is going. That said, I don’t really want to see this match again, not because it was bad, but because there’s just so much talent in the Smackdown Women’s division right now, that I want to see what Bayley can do with all of them as champion.

3 – Ricochet def. Samoa Joe(c)
(United States Championship)

And here we have a match that’s thankfully what we all hoped it would be.

I said in my predictions that I thought this match would focus on both men trying to force the other to wrestle their style and that’s more or less what we got. The opening sequence was full of Ricochet wrestling circles around Joe before Joe finally caught him and was able to slow him down. Once Joe was on top the pace of the match changed drastically to be a lot more methodical, with Joe trying to wear down Ricochet for a portion of the match.

It threatened to go on for too long and become a bit boring, but these two men were able to pace it very nicely so that the comebacks and high spots were in the right places to frame the slower moments nicely. I particularly liked when Joe denied Ricochet’s kick, Ricochet did a standing backflip in order to sell it and the crowd just didn’t give a shit. The final few minutes of the match focused around Ricochet trying to pull off the 630 Splash, rolling through on it once before getting Joe down long enough to land the second and become the new United States champion.

I wasn’t expecting this, but I’m most certainly in on it, and if his first feud is going to be AJ Styles, then I’m in all the way. Hopefully, Joe can move up the card a bit off of the back of this, maybe going after Strowman after that was teased during the Superstar shakeup and never followed up on.

2 – Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn def. The New Day

Clearly, no-one told these guys this was an inconsequential tag match.

This match was very entertaining from start to finish. It opened up with something we don’t see very often, where Owens immediately took Big E out of the equation while he and Zayn frequently tagged in and out hitting their big moves in order to try and put Xavier away quickly but he was able to stay alive throughout.

The match then transitioned into Zayn and Owens putting a beating on Xavier Woods and Woods desperately trying to make the tag. Once again, this was paced really well, the beatdown on Xavier didn’t last so long as to be boring, but lasted long enough to really get the crowd invested in the hot tag when it eventually came. Big E was like a house on fire in this match, and clearly didn’t miss a step during the couple of months he was away.

Once the hot tag was made and the match devolved a bit, the chaos was so much fun to watch. The near falls and false finishes were done to great effect and I really felt like it could’ve gone either way when it came down to the final moments. Eventually, Owens would hit a stunner on Woods (which Woods would sell the shit out of) for the win in a very satisfying and fun match.

1 – Drew Gulak def. Tony Nese(c) & Akira Tozowa
(Cruiserweight Championship)
(Kickoff Show)

Well, this was bound to happen one day. If you keep putting the cruiserweights on the pre-show, expect them to show up and blow everything else out of the water because this match was fantastic.

I’ve loved watching Tozowa & Gulak on 205 Live in recent months, and Tony Nese is no slouch either, so putting the three of them together in this match was always going to make for something great. Interestingly, unlike a lot of other triple threat matches, there weren’t any extended periods of time where one person was selling outside the ring while the other two fought. The action and interruptions of the action were constant the whole way through and it made for such an unpredictable bout, where you never knew what was coming next.

Some of my personal favourite spots were Tozowa dropping out of the sky onto Nese, who was trapped in Gulak’s submission hold, and Nese swooping in as Tozowa was trying to take Drew out and throwing Tozowa at Gulak. There were some great near falls too (admittedly only because Drew missed his cue) and as we got into the final two minutes, there were points where I honestly believed each man had it in the bag.

Eventually, Drew Gulak came out on top in what I think is the right move for 205 Live. Nese was a great champion, but I feel he was much better in the chase than once he actually won the title, and Drew has been putting on great matches with the whole 205 Live and NXT rosters for well over a year now, so I’m very much looking forward to what’s to come.

That’s all folks! There’s what I thought of every match that took place at Stomping Grounds 2019! Thank you very much for reading, a share on social media would be very much appreciated, and make sure to let me know what you thought of the show, either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo. Make sure you come back this weekend, where we go back to the land of video games, for something a little different.

WWE Money in the Bank 2019: Every Match Ranked

Hmm, alright then.

This was definitely the most mixed WWE PPV of the year so far. It had some really good point, but it also had a fair share of it’s weird/bad moments too, so I’d understand if you came away with a negative overall view of the show, but personally, I still thought it was a pretty good overall product. Granted, it didn’t seem like it for the first hour and a half or so, but once the show picked up I think it kept a pretty consistent quality.

Every match has its place, however, so let’s take a look at where those places are, as I rank every match from WWE Money in the Bank 2019.

11 – Roman Reigns def. Elias

I would’ve never criticised WWE ever again if Reigns had just turned around and smacked Elias in the mouth right then.

As was to be expected with a 10 match card, we got a couple of really short matches last night and I generally find it pretty hard to put super short matches any higher than last unless they served a real purpose (like Seth vs Brock from Wrestlemania).

So why did I rank this one lower than the other one? Because it was shorter is pretty much the only reason. Elias’ cartoonish sneak attack on Reigns made it pretty obvious this was going to be a squash too, especially when Elias came down to the ring anyway and busted out his electric guitar. As could be predicted, Reigns’ music hit just as Elias was walking up the ramp, Reigns got some payback, then he rolled Elias in the ring and 7 seconds later Reigns had won. Pretty much right on the hour for when Game of Thrones started, which I’m sure was just a coincidence but I’m going to pretend it wasn’t for comedic purposes.

It’s not entirely clear what Reigns is going to be doing over this summer so it wouldn’t surprise me if this feud kept going for another match at Super Showdown, although they’ve got to fill out the numbers in that 50 man battle royal somehow.

10 – Rey Mysterio def. Samoa Joe(c)
(United States Championship)

Apparently, all the referees were just completely blind tonight.

So, the current story is that this match was cut short once Joe started bleeding quite heavily thanks to a broken nose, which I’m fine with, the wrestlers’ safety should always come first after all, but I’m not a huge fan of the way they did it.

Sometimes, when they have a “botched” finish like this, where the referee doesn’t see something and ends up declaring the wrong winner, it makes sense. The situation of where the competitor was compared to the referee means you can believe that the ref might not have been able to see the ropes or a shoulder off the mat, but there was really no excuse on this one. Not only was the referee looking almost directly at it, but Joe’s shoulder could not have been higher off of the mat by the time the three hit.

Not only that, but it’s been established in recent years that in a situation like this, they will show the replay on the arena screens, or a second referee will run down and correct the mistake of the original referee, which only makes things all the more confusing in situations like this where that doesn’t happen. The commentators can clearly see it right in front of them, and they’re literally 10 feet away, can the referee not just check the video? It seems so non-sensical.

Either way, I liked the post-match beatdown, and I really hope it’s building to Dominick getting involved physically sometime soon because it’s really weird just having him stand there and watch his father get destroyed and not even try to stop Joe.

9 – Becky Lynch(c) def. Lacey Evans
(Raw Women’s Championship)

Well that was exactly what I was expecting it to be.

This is one of those matches, where I don’t really have much bad to say about it, but I also don’t have a great deal of praise to dole out either. If this had taken place on an episode of Raw, it would’ve been classed as really good, but on a PPV? It’s fine, but nothing special.

I understand, of course, Becky had to wrestle two matches, so she didn’t wanna go crazy in this one, and as much as Lacey is better than we give her credit for, she’s still got a ways to go before she cracks that upper tier of brilliant matches. As I’ve said, this match was perfectly serviceable, but there really wasn’t any moment that stuck out to me as being particularly great or awful. I do think it was a bit short though, I know Becky’s got to wrestle two matches, but you couldn’t have let this one go just a little bit longer? The finish felt way too sudden.

Hopefully, Lacey Evans fades to the back of the line for a little bit, partly because I want to see Becky face a variety of opponents on Raw, but also as much as she lost pretty decisively here, her stock has been raised by competing in a high profile feud with Becky like this; a lot more than walking up and down the ramp every week did at least. That raising of stock for Lacey would almost certainly be undone if she had to take another loss from Becky-Not-Actually-2-Belts-Anymore-Hope-You-Didn’t-Buy-That-Shirt.

8 – Bayley wins the Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match

With the exception of the finish, there really wasn’t much to be excited about in this one.

For one thing, it went really short for a Money in the Bank ladder match going a mere thirteen minutes, which was shorter than both World title matches and the same length as Shane vs Miz, which takes away from a lot of the drama and excitement you can get out of the match. Secondly, there was a real lack of big and impactful spots throughout the match. Naomi’s stuff was fun, and the matrix dodging of ladders was something we haven’t really seen before, but none of the ladder spots we saw here were anything worth shouting about.

Carmella’s “injury” also didn’t really seem like the best touch, partly because it was pretty obvious it wasn’t real and also because they drew almost no attention to it barring a couple of quick cuts when there was a split-second break in the action. I also don’t really feel like anyone outside of the winner got a chance to really shine during the match, Ember Moon’s eclipse from a ladder was awesome but when you take a look at the rest of the match she’s basically a complete non-factor for most of it.

All that said, I really liked the finish. Sonya literally carrying Mandy to the top of the ladder looked great, and it was only made better when Bayley sprinted up the ladder and stared at Mandy will all of hell’s fury behind her eyes. It felt like such a cathartic character moment for Bayley, like after all the crap she’s been through for the past two years she’s finally had enough and won’t let anyone take her opportunity from her. Honestly, that finish alone pulled this match up a whole place.

7 – Tony Nese(c) def. Ariya Daivari
(Cruiserweight Championship)

Well, wouldn’t you fancy that? When you give the cruiserweights a chance to shine, they actually shine.

It’s at this point that I realise I actually like this show a lot more than I thought I did, because from here on out I pretty much only have good things to say about the matches. Once again, the cruiserweights got their once in a blue moon to put on a killer match on the main show of a WWE PPV, and while it wasn’t as good as Murphey vs Ali from Survivor Series last year, it was certainly still a great match to watch.

Daivari played a great heel, but not one that looked weak and had to cheat every 5 seconds despite what his character seems like. The action kept up a pretty fast pace throughout and there were almost no wasted motions between the pair. It never quite reached that higher gear of amazing spots and intense back and forth, but it certainly outperformed your average WWE PPV match, and proved that Tony Nese is a legitimate champion.

I’m not entirely sure what’s next for Nese, but there’s no shortage of opponents for him on 205 Live. If Nese carries on having these great one-and-done feuds with the whole 205 roster, he’ll be a very good champion indeed.

6 – Shane McMahon def. The Miz
(Steel Cage)

I know, I’m as surprised as you are this was good.

I honestly don’t understand how this happened, it’s one of the most boring stipulations in WWE, with a non-wrestler and a wrestler who doesn’t do well in hardcore matches, and somehow it was great. My world has been torn asunder.

Shane plays such a good heel in matches like this that it’s a wonder he was ever a face, to begin with. The way he sprints up the cage wall at every available opportunity adds this sense of urgency to the whole match and creates a great dynamic where The Miz is desperately trying to ground Shane and keep him down at every opportunity because Shane won’t hesitate to make a break for it if he has the chance.

There was so much back and forth between these two and the chemistry between them seems to be so tight at this point I honestly don’t think they could put on a bad match. We had plenty of exciting spots, like Miz catching Shane off of the coast-to-coast, Shane falling from almost the top of the cage flat onto his back, the figure 4 where Shane almost escaped, and the Skull Crushing Finale onto the chair where Shane got his foot on the ropes despite the fact that there’s no rope break in a cage match. Well ok, maybe not that last one.

I’m also ok with the finish because it makes Shane seem lucky without making Miz seem stupid, and I imagine we’ll probably see one more match between the two at some point over the next month to wrap things up. I hope so anyway because this feud has been surprisingly good the entire time.

5 – Charlotte Flair def. Becky Lynch(c)
Bayley def. Charlotte Flair(c)
(Smackdown Women’s Championship)

I’ve lumped these two together since there’s not enough to write about them both individually, and they run into each other pretty heavily.

I honestly didn’t think they were going to do the matches back to back like this, but the way everything turned out really made the best of that situation. Charlotte looking super pleased with herself was a great touch as she came out, and it was clear she didn’t want to give Becky a moment to recover after the first match.

So this match was only about five minutes long, but it worked for the story that they were trying to tell, it lasted long enough that you thought Becky was going to be able to pull a fast one on Charlotte, only for Lacey Evans, who we all forgot about, to give Charlotte the advantage and hit a big boot (which completely missed, but let’s ignore that) to win the match.

Charlotte winning the title here made it so that I think we all instantly knew how this was going to end. A quick beatdown on Becky followed by Bayley’s music hitting and the crowd full on exploded at that moment. Considering it feels like only a few months ago she was being booed out of arenas for being scared of a stick, I’m so glad this move to Smackdown has done her well and hopefully, this reign lasts longer than 48 hours and she gets a chance to put on great matches defending the title all summer.

4 – The Usos def. Daniel Bryan & Rowan
(Kickoff Show)

The words “kickoff show” have no meaning to Daniel Bryan.

I thought this match would still be awesome despite being on the pre-show, but man, these guys really put their working shoes on. Sure, the match had no steaks and really had no reason to exist in the first place, but that doesn’t stop it from being full of exciting moments and fast-paced action from some of the best wrestlers in the world.

All four men put on some great work here, Bryan & Rowan’s teamwork continues to develop in every match they have, and honestly, it looked at points like Rowan could’ve taken both Usos on his own. Bryan, of course, did the great work he always does, grounding the Usos at every opportunity and continues to make every single opponent he wrestles look like a million bucks.

The Usos were no slouches either, they wouldn’t stop flying all over the place and doling out superkicks like there’s no tomorrow. They aren’t the team I’d have picked to win this match, but given how much fun this match was to watch, I don’t really mind. Not to mention, Daniel Bryan’s post-match promo on WWE.com could lead to a great story, so right now, I’ve got nothing but positives about this one.

3 – Kofi Kingston(c) def. Kevin Owens
(WWE Championship)

More of this, please.

I know the crowd weren’t as into this as they could’ve been thanks to the Universal title match that came before it, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this match rocked.

It was a little slow to start, with Owens mostly playing the heel role of wearing Kofi down for a while, but once this thing got going, it told such a brilliant story. This whole year with Kofi has pretty much been a story of him absolutely refusing to say die, no matter what is thrown his way and no matter how much of a beating he takes he just won’t stay down, and that was all this match needed to run with, and Owens showed the effects of it all over his face.

Once Kofi started to come back and we got into a more back and forth pace, Owens’ performance was absolutely pitch perfect for the story of the match. Every single time Kofi kicked out or got back up he would slowly begin to lose his shit more and more, lashing out at the crowd, at the commentators and at Kofi every single time Kofi got back up. It created this brilliant sense of urgency towards the end of the match where Owens was becoming more and more vicious and trying absolutely everything he could think of to keep Kofi down, and Kofi just bided his time and waited for the opportunity to strike.

I don’t know if this is the end of the feud considering it was a clean finish, but I really hope there’s more of this to come, I think there’s so much great storyline opportunities to be had with Owens getting so unbelievably frustrated at how he can’t put Kofi away that he has to resort to some sort of drastic action, and I have the faith in the Smackdown creative team to pull it off.

2 – Brock Lesnar win the Men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match

Oh…ok.

We’ll talk about…that in a moment, but before we get bogged down, let’s take a look at the rest of the match because it was awesome.

First off, we need to give the man of the match award, and a giant ice pack to Finn Balor because holy crap he damn near killed himself in this match for our entertainment last night. Not only did he take that incredible sunset flip from the top of a ladder, onto another ladder which bounced making him land on it a second time which might be the greatest ladder spot I’ve ever seen, he also was dropped multiple times onto other ladders around the ring by Drew Mcintyre which were probably even more painful with the force he landed on some of them.

On top of that, we had Ricochet and Ali flipping around each other the whole time which was so much fun to watch, even when Ricochet was just lobbed straight through a ladder by Drew. Drew and Corbin’s partnership was a nice touch, it gave the match a back and forth and proper structure in amongst all of the chaos that was going on around the place, and even better when it inevitably imploded.

Then of course…there was the finish. I’m still not entirely sure what to make of it if I’m honest. For one thing, it made Ali look like an idiot because he could’ve unhooked the briefcase and been out of the ring by the time Brock got to him, but that’s a minor detail, the most important thing is that Brock Lesnar is the Money in the Bank briefcase holder. I’m not pissed off by this decision, and I’m not all that upset that Brock has the briefcase, however, I would’ve prefered anyone else in that match (except Orton) to win instead of Brock.

I think this mostly because it seems really obvious what’s going to happen. I absolutely love the idea of a guy like Brock with Money in the Bank, a dude who can run you through in seconds when you’re at 100% having the opportunity to pounce on you when you’re at the weakest is a brilliant threat, and watching whoever is champion at the time absolutely shit themselves whenever his music hits would be great; but that’s not what’s going to happen.

All that’s going to happen is Heyman will announce the cash-in for an upcoming PPV, be it Super Showdown or Summerslam, that’s all it will be and quite frankly did Brock really need Money in the Bank to do that? All Brock needs to do to get his rematch with Seth is show up, throw a few dudes about and demand it, meanwhile, you could’ve given the briefcase to someone like Drew ready for later in the year.

At the end of the day, I don’t think Brock winning Money in the Bank is a bad thing, but it was certainly the worst of the present options; the match was still awesome though, so second place it stays.

1 – Seth Rollins(c) def. AJ Styles
(Universal Championship)

Oh, thank God it was good, really really good.

You have no idea how paranoid I’ve been this past month that this match was going to underwhelm and disappoint compared to its expectations, AJ Styles matches have a history of that in WWE after all, but my paranoia was baseless because this match was a sight to behold.

It was paced to absolute perfection to start with, the feeling out process lasted just long enough to get your mouth watering for them to pick up the pace and that’s exactly when they did. Watching these two go back and forth was so much fun, and seeing AJ being able to outwrestle Seth for a large part of the first half was an interesting way to tell the story of the match because it meant Rollins had to rely on his killer instinct to make a comeback.

The final 5 minutes were fever pitch and an absolute blast to watch, that Curb Stomp into Styles Clash counter was a thing of beauty, I’ve watched it so many times now and I’m still not entirely sure how they managed it so seamlessly. It was able to suspend the disbelief of the result as well because there was no way Seth was ever going to lose this match, but goddamn if I didn’t doubt that fact during a couple of the near falls.

This is everything I had hoped for both from a Seth vs AJ match and Seth Rollins as Universal Champion, if all his matches are going to be like this, we might need a separate list at the end of the year just for Seth Rollins matches because right now, this is tied with Kofi vs Bryan for my favourite main roster match of the year. Please, sir, I want some more.

So there you have it! That’s what I thought of every match that took place at Money in the Bank 2019! Having written the review now, it was actually a lot better of a show than I gave it credit for at the start, there were some weird moments, but ultimately almost every match was good to great from top to bottom.

Still, what do you think? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo. I’m away next week so there won’t be any posts, but the following Friday you can expect my rankings of Doctor Who Series 2!