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 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 Super ShowDown 2020: Predictions & Analysis

The problem with these Saudi shows happening twice a year is that I’m sort of running out of things to say about them. I will say the placement of this one is really weird. I’ve said plenty of times that I don’t think there should be a PPV between the Rumble and Mania, but to put one of the big “Wrestlemania-sized” shows in there? Seems a little bit redundant if you ask me.

As it stands, the card for this show actually looks pretty decent for the most part. I’m sure it’ll fall victim to the usual issues of these shows, but I’m going to maintain a cautious optimism about the quality of the show because…well for the sake of my own sanity to be perfectly honest.

Let’s get predicting, shall we?

Andrade vs Bobby Lashley vs AJ Styles vs Rey Mysterio vs Erick Rowan vs R-Truth
(Tuwaiq Trophy Gaunlet Match)

Jesus Christ, talk about pointless…

Seriously, what is the point? It’ll be mentioned for one, maybe two weeks after the fact (if that) and then we’ll all move on completely forgetting about it so very quickly. Couldn’t it have at least been for the US title or something instead of a totally pointless trophy? I looked up what Tuwaiq is and while I don’t understand the exact geological terms, it’s essentially a big canyon, it’s like having the “Grand Canyon” trophy, or the “Death Valley” trophy and while that second one actually sounds pretty awesome, my point still stands that this whole thing is pointless and stupid.

I’m not even sure the match will be all that interesting to watch either. If Andrade & Styles get some time in the ring together that should be pretty good and I imagine Rey & Andrade will also go on a bit of tear against each other, but I expect this to be more along the lines of the Tag Gauntlet match from Crown Jewel last year. A bunch of quick pins with little action between until someone inexplicably wins.

Speaking of winners, I’m not overly confident but given the rumours that a match with The Undertaker is on the horizon, I’m going with AJ Styles.

Roman Reigns vs King Corbin
(Steel Cage)

Oh, thank the lord! I thought we were going to get a break from this feud for five fucking seconds, you had me worried there WWE, good to know you’re still pushing on with this.

I made a big song and dance in the last entry about it being a pointless match, but when it comes to this one, I mean come on, who’s honestly still invested in this story? At least with their match at the Rumble, I could understand the desire to cap it off with Roman getting his win back so he could move on to bigger and better things, but at this point, what is there for anyone to gain from winning this match? If Roman wins, then it means basically nothing because he’s already beat Corbin several times over in various forms of matches and if Corbin wins, it’ll feel like a massive anti-climax and we’ll probably have to suffer through more of this bollocks until Elimination Chamber.

On top of that, it’s in a Steel Cage, which means it’s virtually guaranteed to be a snooze fest and an absolute cluster fuck with all kind of people needlessly getting involved. Roman Reigns is going to win, because if he doesn’t then I may sigh so hard that all of the gas in my body gets expelled at once and I’ll suffocate.

Seth Rollins & Murphy(c) vs The Street Profits
(Raw Tag Team Championships)

Well, there’s not going to be a great deal of tension in this one, but it should at least be fun.

When Rollins & Murphy first won the Raw tag titles, I was a bit sceptical. I thought it would’ve served AOP better to have the titles and I worried that it would continue the descent of the titles to be totally forgotten amongst a singles feud between Owens & Rollins, but actually, I think things have been going pretty well. Rollins is doing a great job of making his heel persona this time around feels different to what it was during his initial turn in 2014/15, he’s still got that slight cowardly edge, but it doesn’t dominate his character and it feels a lot more calculated. He’s surrounded himself with other tough guys, not because he doesn’t want to fight his own battles, but because it protects him from babyfaces like Owens getting one over on him every week, and most importantly, it’s actually working.

Compare this to Corbin’s alliance with Ziggler & Roode and you can see exactly why that doesn’t work. It’s partly because Roman is out-smarting them at every opportunity, but also it feels like there’s no cohesion between them as a unit. They’re not brothers in arms fighting for a common cause, they’re just three people who don’t hate each other at the moment. Looking back at Rollins, Murphy & AOP, it’s clear to me that there’s a lot more thought behind this and at least some semblance of a long-term goal, so I’m quite happy with how things have been going.

…what was I here to talk about again? Oh yeah, the match. Not really much to say if I’m honest, Seth Rollins & Murphy are definitely winning and it wouldn’t surprise me if it ended up being a glorified squash. That said, if Street Profits are actually given a chance to make this competitive, then I think it could easily be a match of the night contender; fingers crossed, I guess.

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

Don’t get me wrong, I like John Morrison, but was bringing him back just for this really worth it? I understand that there isn’t exactly much room for him in the singles division at the moment, but when I envision John Morrison’s return, this isn’t exactly what I had in mind.

I’ll admit though, I’ve enjoyed watching his reunion with The Miz and it’s clear there’s still some great chemistry between them. Whether that chemistry extends to the ring remains to be seen, but I have confidence that these guys will pull something great out of the bag. As it stands, I don’t think there’s a better team for them to go against right now than The New Day. From a character perspective, they have that comedic edge that Miz & Morrison can bounce off of so well and when it comes to the ring, they’re easily the best in WWE right now, so a good-to-great match is all but guaranteed.

When it comes to picking a winner, I’m not as confident as I probably should be, but I’m going with The Miz & John Morrison to pick up the titles. Morrison losing his first big opportunity following his return would make the whole thing feel extremely pointless and it’s not like The New Day have anything to lose right now and in fact, having them chasing the titles going into Mania might make for a more compelling story.

Bayley(c) vs Naomi
(Smackdown Women’s Championship)

After Crown Jewel last year where Saudi Arabia finally allowed a women’s wrestling match to take place in their country, I can only hope that they’re going to slowly but surely loosen up the restrictions on what these women can do in the ring. Nevermind the fact that WWE are congratulating Saudia Arabia for doing this, even though they’re still a number of centuries behind the rest of the world, I’m hoping that this will actually get to be a match, rather than an over-glorified training routine.

Don’t get me wrong, the match between Evans & Natalya at Crown Jewel was absolutely an important and necessary first step, but you can’t deny that they wrestled an extremely safe, by-the-book and boring match that was entirely designed to be as inoffensive as humanly possible. If this happens here it would be an incredible disservice to these two great performers who I think, given the chance could put on a really great match.

I have absolutely no idea what the plans are for the Smackdown Women’s Championship at Wrestlemania (and if the dirt sheets are to be believed, neither do WWE) but I think it would make the most sense to have Bayley go in as champion. I know Naomi has the heat of the return, but there’s been basically nothing in the way of build to this match, so a Naomi win would seem very strange and out of nowhere.

Brock Lesnar(c) vs Ricochet
(WWE Championship)

You know that scene from the first Avenger’s film where The Hulk smashes Loki into the floor over and over? Yeah, that. That’s what’s going to happen.

I’d love to live in a fantasy world where Ricochet gets a chance to look competitive against Brock and essentially spends 10 minutes flipping circles around the Beast, but let’s be real, it’s just not happening. This match isn’t going to last very long and it’s going to consist of Ricochet’s internal organs being turned to paste before Brock Lesnar walks out with his title.

The Fiend Bray Wyatt(c) vs Goldberg
(Universal Championship)

No! Not again. Please don’t do this to us again.

This match is in a weird position because my perspective on whether or not it’s a good idea depends entirely on the outcome. If this is a chance for The Fiend to get a really strong win before facing off with Roman at Wrestlemania, then I think it’s fantastic and will benefit The Fiend even past him inevitably losing his title to Roman at Mania. However…if the result of this is Goldberg carrying the title in Wrestlemania, then I’m absolutely against it.

I actually think Goldberg vs Roman could be a pretty fun match for Wrestlemania, but it’s not worth sacrificing everything that has been built up around The Fiend for. I’ve said this so much over the past 8ish months, but The Fiend is something unique and special and has all the potential in the world to go down as one of the all-time great gimmicks in wrestling, but it won’t happen if he’s unceremoniously sacrificed to Goldberg here.

As for match quality, it could go either way. I don’t think it’ll be very long, but we’ve seen a whole host of short but good Goldberg matches since his 2016 return. Maybe it’s just denial, but I refuse to accept the fact that Goldberg could be Universal Champion TWICE in the space of 4 years in the modern era. I’m going with what I believe must happen, which is The Fiend Bray Wyatt retaining.

And there you have it! Thank you very much for reading these predictions, be sure to leave your own predictions either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo. Finally, make sure to come back here Friday, where I’ll be running down all of the matches

 

WWE Royal Rumble 2020: Every Match Ranked

The Road to Wrestlemania is officially underway and if it’s going to be anything like this show last night, it’s a road I’m very excited to be going down!

Everyone who’s ever used the internet has said it at some point over the past week, but Royal Rumbles are always so much fun to watch and this year was no exceptions, with two Rumble matches that were among the better ones as far as I’m concerned. Even better than that is that the Rumbles weren’t the only thing to write home about, as many of the other matches on the show were quality watches too.

Let’s not waste any more time getting into it and breakdown Royal Rumble 2020 match-by-match!

8 – Roman Reigns def. King Corbin
(Falls Count Anywhere)

No prizes for guessing this one would be last.

Quite simply, this match had everything that I hate about Falls Count Anywhere matches all rolled into one. The action was extremely samey the whole way through (the portaloo spot notwithstanding) as almost the whole thing consisted of Reigns & Corbin wandering around, occasionally hitting each other and throwing each other into the nearest, vaguely solid object.

Even when Roode, Ziggler & The Usos showed up, I still didn’t find myself getting excited, the spot where one of The Usos launched themselves from one of the stands was cool looking, but given that none of the four men involved in that spot were actually a part of the match, I just couldn’t find a reason to care. Also, the camerawork was just plain awful, I don’t know whether the cameramen were being told to shake the camera vigorously throughout all the action, or whether they were just bad at their jobs, but I almost got motion sickness from watching the action at one point.

It certainly wasn’t the most boring match ever and I’d rank it above the match that these two had at TLC, but that’s not exactly saying much. At least the right man won

7 – Sheamus def. Shorty G
(Kickoff Show)

Not much to say on this one, other than it was a lot more competitive than I was expecting it to be. I have no idea where creative are going with this storyline for Sheamus, but I’m happy to wait and see where it goes and that included not having much worth saying about this match. It’s nice that Shorty G wasn’t just annihilated like I thought he would be, but I honestly think watching him get slaughtered by Sheamus might’ve been a bit more fun to watch.

Like almost any pre-show match, it was perfectly acceptable, but not something I’m going to be talking about for very long after the fact.

6 – Andrade(c) def. Humberto Carrillo
(United States Championship)
(Kickoff Show)

Much like Sheamus vs Shorty G, this match was perfectly fine and the only reason this one goes above that match in my rankings is because it lasted slightly longer.

The dynamic between the two was quite different to Sheamus & Shorty G’s though, as these two men have very similar in-ring styles and it felt much more like the new kid on the block trying to get a feel for one of the older fighters, in order to find a weakness. Unfortunately for Carrillo, that weakness never presented itself and while I wouldn’t say Andrade dominated him in this match, he certainly seemed to get a lot more offence in than Carrillo did.

This match wasn’t as exciting as the match these two had at TLC last month, but I still thought it was a decent showing for a pre-show match where, ultimately, everyone knew the outcome going in.

5 –  Bayley(c) def. Lacey Evans
(Smackdown Women’s Championship)

I think this is the match that I was the most pleasantly surprised by because, if I’m being honest, I wasn’t expecting much going in.

Bayley’s Pay-Per-View matches this past year have, for the most part, been rather underwhelming and I’m still not much of a Lacey Evans fan, but I think the two did a great job at putting on a well-paced and enjoyable match. For one thing, Lacey’s daughter is ADORABLE and her smile just seemed to instantly brighten my mood, but I also thought there was a lot of good action between the two.

I wouldn’t have thought Lacey could work that well as a face, but I found myself getting behind her as the match went on, thanks in large part to Bayley’s great ability to work as a heel. Watching this match it’s clear just how much Evans has come on as a wrestler, especially when you compare it to something like her matches against Becky Lynch from last May.

Admittedly, this wasn’t some super exciting match to set the world on fire, but I think these two women did an admirable job and made me finally see the potential in Lacey Evans’ new character direction, and more generally as a performer, so I’d rate that a success.

4 – Charlotte Flair won the 30 Woman Royal Rumble Match

With each year that goes by, I think the women’s Royal Rumble match keeps getting better and better. As WWE hires more and more credible female competitors, it no longer feels like the match is relying on the nostalgia pops and thread-bare action in order to get the crowd interested, finally putting it on par with the booking philosophies of the men’s incarnation of the match.

For the past two years, the downfall of the women’s Royal Rumble has been the first half but that wasn’t a problem here because I thought the first half of this match was the best portion of the whole thing. I wouldn’t have thought that Bianca Belair would be the one to get the rub of dominating the early portions but I absolutely loved how it played out. There was a good mix of everything in there, from the serious to the comical and it kept the action flowing at a good pace.

From when Charlotte entered through until Shayna Baszler showed up wasn’t all that interesting, but I still had a good time seeing people like Beth Pheonix & Shotzi Blackheart showing up and briefly kicking arse, even if blood somehow started POURING out of the back of Beth’s head.

While I’m a bit disappointed Shayna Baszler didn’t win the match, I’m not mad about it. While she is absolutely a ready-made star, I can understand why people think it might be a bit too early to give her a rub like winning the Royal Rumble and, let’s be honest, Charlotte was always going to have to win one of these eventually. Not to mention that sequence towards the end where Baszler just decided she’d had enough of this shit and eliminated EVERYONE still in the ring in space of about a minute was great to watch.

While it wasn’t perfect, it was undoubtedly the best of the women’s Royal Rumble matches we’ve had so far and I can honestly say I’d happily watch it again and have a good time doing so.

3 – Becky Lynch(c) def. Asuka
(Raw Women’s Championship)

This is one of those situations where I think a disinterested crowd took away from a match that was a lot better than the reactions it was getting. I don’t blame the crowd, however, if I had already gone through 3 hours of action and knew there was a Royal Rumble match immediately after this one, I’d try and conserve my energy too, but it doesn’t stop it taking away from the match somewhat.

Still, there was a lot of solid wrestling to this match and I don’t think we should let a muted crowd take away too much from that fact. These two have clear chemistry in the ring together and if I’m being entirely honest, I wouldn’t mind seeing another clash between them in front of a more lively crowd. Asuka did a good job of striking a balance between heelishly slowing down the action but keeping things relatively exciting and tense as she worked her magic.

Meanwhile, Becky did was Becky does and it was as much fun to watch as it always is. She’s so good at making herself look just about beatable, before striking out with the comebacks and sneaking away with the win. I especially liked the finishing sequence where both women were escaping each other’s submission manoeuvres and I’m happy that Becky finally got her win back.

2 – The Fiend Bray Wyatt(c) def. Daniel Bryan
(Universal Championship)
(Strap Match)

Told you they’d make it work.

If I’m being honest, I was starting to lose faith that we’d ever see a really great Fiend match, his character didn’t seem to leave much room for competitive matches, however, I was thankfully proved wrong last night as I thought this was a great way to go about it.

Strap matches usually tend to restrict the performers in the ring, but that wasn’t the case here as they were able to get some really impressive action in and still feature the strap heavily in most of their spots. Throughout the match, I really got the feeling that Daniel Bryan was finally able to get a feel of The Fiend and had plenty of counters prepared for the erratic offence The Fiend threw his way.

It was a little slow to start, but that was necessary to get the damage in on Bryan and lend a lot more drama to his comeback, which definitely worked. Every now and then Bryan would get a little advantage over The Fiend and each time he managed it, he kept the momentum going for just a little bit longer. Unfortunately, the fact that it was extremely obvious going in that Bryan wasn’t going to win sapped a bit of the drama out of the final LeBell Lock, but I still came away from the match having had a great time watching some great wrestling, so I can’t complain.

 1 – Drew McIntyre won the 30 Man Royal Rumble Match

Well, I sure didn’t see that one coming.

This was very clearly a Rumble of two halves and I think that both halves were as entertaining as each other, but in different ways. The first half where Brock was eliminating everyone was so fun to watch, it could’ve lost its novelty pretty quickly, but there was enough variation in both the entrants and the method by which they fought that kept it entertaining and it was clear from his face that Brock was having a great time, which helps LOADS.

My personal favourite moment in that first half was when Shelton Benjamin came out and Brock greeted him as an old friend because we knew that turn was coming, but Brock was so uncharacteristically cheery that I couldn’t help but chuckle. The drama was there too, with Kofi, Big E and Rey did their best to take on the Beast, it’s a bit disappointing that Kofi didn’t get his moment, but when the three of them prepared an attack on the outside, I felt the drama of it. Also, honourable mention to Brock bopping to MVP’s music.

Eventually, Drew came out at 17 and things went off the chain. Ricochet giving Brock the low-blow was a nice bit of poetry and the Claymore Drew hit to eliminate Brock was brilliant and Brock sold it like death to boot. As the ring filled up with people we got the more standard Rumble action and thanks to the calibre of the guys involved it was all great stuff.

Edge’s return was brilliant, even if a lot of us sort of knew it was probably going to happen. I became a wrestling fan not too long after Edge retired, but I’ve seen so much of his stuff since then and that look on his face as he walked out – pumped and ready to fight, but also on the brink of crying tears of joy – that hit me right in the feels and it was a wonderful moment. On top of that, he got a great showing, Spearing everyone in sight and giving us a cheeky little Rated RKO reunion for our troubles.

As I mentioned in my predictions, while Roman wasn’t the person I necessarily wanted to win, I would’ve been happy if he did and I’d come to accept the fact that it was just how it was going to happen. So when Drew threw Roman over the top and won I was genuinely shocked and overjoyed. I never would’ve picked Drew to win, but now the prospect of Drew vs Brock is in front of me I am GAGGING for it, make that man the first-ever UK-Born WWE Champion, I need that in my life.

As far as a Royal Rumble match goes, this was a resounding success on all fronts and it easily up there with many of the better Rumble matches to ever take place.

And that’s it! Those are my thoughts of Royal Rumble 2020! Thank you very much for taking the time to read this, let me know what you thought of the show, either in the comments below or on Twitter @10ryawoo. Finally, make sure to come back on Saturday where I’ll be running down Doctor Who Series 5!

 

WWE TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs 2019: Every Match Ranked

And with that, the last WWE Pay-Per-View is in the books and…meh.

I just felt a bit deflated watching this show, there were some highlights and I’ll get to those, but at least 75% of this show was just a bit dull. I’ll elaborate as I break down each of the matches, but this is absolutely going to be a show that is well and truly forgotten by the time the new year rolls around.

Let’s take a look at the match then, shall we?

8 – King Corbin def. Roman Reigns
(Tables, Ladders & Chairs)

BORED.

I honestly have nothing to say about this match. It wasn’t even bad in some weird or interesting way, it was just a completely and boringly average match from start to finish. The action was predictable WWE affair and as I mentioned in my predictions, Corbin is not the kind of wrestler that Reigns gels well with.

On top of that, there’s the fact that The Revival have gone back to being Corbin’s lackeys which is fine I guess but given the number of times we’ve seen it this year, I can’t help but not care. Looking back at how Roman Reigns has been booked since his return, it makes me wonder if WWE think that if they have Roman lose basically every feud he’s in all year, we won’t all be mad when he wins the Royal Rumble, because that’s pretty much the only explanation I can come up with to justify Corbin winning this close to Wrestlemania season.

7 – Bobby Lashley def. Rusev
(Tables Match)

BOOOOOREEEED.

Once again, it’s another bog-standard and extremely boring WWE weapons match, that was arguably even further hampered by having to force a bunch of “almost” table spots every 2 minutes. The reason I’m ranking it above Roman & Corbin is that I thought that in the opening few minutes before the weapons came out, these two actually had some pretty good chemistry as two hosses that were trying to destroy each other. Unfortunately it mostly just made me wish we could’ve had a normal match instead of these tacked on gimmicks.

I highly doubt this is the end of the feud though and I think that might be to its benefit since I’d actually quite like to see a regular match between these two as it’s clear they’ve got some heat behind this story. WWE do have a New Year’s episode to stack after all.

6 – The Kabuki Warriors(c) def. Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair
(Women’s Tag Team Championships)
(Tables, Ladders & Chairs)

I REALLY wanted to like this match, I even watched it back this morning to make sure it wasn’t my tiredness that was ruining it for me, but it just wasn’t good.

It opened really strong, there were some quick spots with the weapons and a nice amount of actions that gave the match a big-fight feel. I especially liked the large amounts of tandem offence on both teams, it made a big deal out of Becky & Charlotte teaming together, which I don’t think had been done nearly enough on TV in the build to this match.

Unfortunately, around-about the half-way point of the match, it just STOPPED. The competitors would take over a minute to set up almost every spot and the resulting spot was never worth it, they stopped literally everything at one point so Asuka & Kairi could have a whole conversation and then fumble around with a ladder for what felt like an eternity. That whole segment completely lost me and the match did nothing to win me back from that point onwards which is such a disappointment, especially when you consider how good the triple threat TLC between Asuka, Becky & Charlotte was last year.

I’m overjoyed that Asuka & Kairi got a clean win and the performance made Kairi feel like a big deal for the first time since coming to Raw & Smackdown, but I didn’t have fun watching this match at all, so it’s got to get a low ranking.

5 – The Viking Raiders(c) vs The OC ended in a double countout
(Raw Tag Team Championships)

Oh. They went for the extremely obvious yet extremely underwhelming options then…FIINE.

Admittedly predicting The Usos to show up here was a bit of wishful thinking, but given what match we ended up getting I feel justified in wanting it. As I’ve gotten used to in recent years with WWE, this match was just fine. I don’t have any problems with it, but I also don’t have even the slightest shred of interest in it.

…At least that’s what I thought until the match ended in a double countout, meaning we’re going to be getting this on the Royal Rumble pre-show next month. So I guess I’ll see you next month when I cover this match again!

4 – Bray Wyatt def. The Miz

So here we have an absolutely fantastic bout of story-telling that we very rarely see from WWE and a match that didn’t quite click for me.

I liked the idea of Bray just letting Miz beat the life out of him, but I don’t think they went about it in quite the right way. The way Bray kept trying to break through but got countered made it seem like Bray was actually trying to get offence in, but Miz was outmanoeuvring him, I would’ve instead preferred it if Bray was voluntarily offering himself up to be beaten up by The Miz. That said, the main story beats still landed as intended and I’d love to see Bray wrestle as the funhouse character more often just to see more of this.

What happened after the match was great too, we finally got the idea that The Fiend really is a separate entity to Bray and things got genuinely creepy when Bray looked up at The Fiend and laughed “Ok, I’ll do it”. I’m not entirely sure why Michael Cole was so shocked by the mallet when it was at least the third time he’s seen it, but that’s beside the point. The return of Daniel Bryan is something I’ll always be in favour of and this feud now feels like it’s got some real heat behind it, so I’m looking forward to the coming month of TV between these two.

Like I said, the match itself was nothing special, but the story was definitely the main focus and that absolutely worked.

3 – The New Day(c) def. The Revival
(Smackdown Tag Team Championships)
(Ladder)

Oh…to be honest, this was one of the few matches I was optimistic about going into the show.

I have no idea why, but this match just didn’t click with me. It ended up similarly to the main event in that it started out well, (very well, in fact, that’s why I’ve ranked it so much higher) but around the mid-point, it just totally lost me. Things started to slow down and I was ok with it, but then there were a solid 2 minutes of Big E wandering around the ring doing pretty much nothing and the whole match just fell apart from that point onwards.

There were flickers of excitement, almost all of which were thanks to Kofi but the finish felt extremely awkward, with Scott Dawson just kind of standing there on the ladder, he wasn’t being hit by anyone and he wasn’t selling, he could’ve easily just climbed the ladder, but instead, he was just stood there doing absolutely nothing. All of this wasn’t helped by the fact that Kofi had to awkwardly manoeuvre himself out of the position he was stuck in on the ladder before he could grab the titles.

This was a match that started off as good as you’d expect between these two teams but the longer it went on the more it dragged to the point where I came away from it feeling glad it was over.

2 – Humberto Carrillo def. Andrade
(Kickoff Show)

How come the cruiserweight title could never get this much time on the pre-show?

With how last-minute and throwaway this match seemed I was not expecting much from it at all, I was expecting about 7 minutes of good, but not great action that served pretty much no purpose whatsoever. What we instead got was a 13-minute match between two guys with great chemistry who made the most of the opportunity that was before them by putting on a really fun match.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s nothing that’s going to set the world on fire, but in a show like this with so much dull crap, I was overjoyed that a match I initially thought nothing of turned into something very enjoyable. I’m not sure what kind of story they’re looking to tell with Andrade & Vega, but I imagine it’ll amount to nothing, much like this mini push they’ve decided to give Humberto, maybe he’ll get to do something cool in the Rumble match.

Still, whether this is the start of something great for Humberto or just a flash in the pan, I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.

1 – Aleister Black def. Buddy Murphey

So it turns out when you take two really good wrestlers and just let them wrestle instead of forcing pointless gimmicks upon them, it’s actually really good, who knew?

As I think most of us expected, these two gelled really well in the ring. Black’s style of offence has always been very strike-based which was something Murphey was able to bounce off of very well. This match had a bit of everything, from fast-paced action that looked incredibly impressive, to slow and hard-hitting strikes that genuinely caused me to exclaim at a couple of points.

There is the issue that this match had no build to it at all, especially since we hadn’t seen Black wrestle in any noteworthy spot since June, however, I’d be ok with him having a bunch of matches like this if there was any kind of consistency to it. Every time we get a little taste of Aleister Black like this it reminds me how much I love him as a wrestler and I want to see so much more of him; the same goes for Buddy Murphey too if I’m being honest.

So in short, great match, but give me MORE!

And there you have it! Those were my thoughts on WWE TLC 2019, thank you very much for taking the time to read this review, 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 on Saturday, where I’ll be running down the best “old” games that I played for the first time in 2019!