Welcome to KB's old school (and new school) reviews. I have been reviewing wrestling programs for over ten years and have reviewed over 5,000 programs. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I'll post a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net, starting today. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school, the indies, and anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and don't rate matches in less than three minutes as really, how good or bad can something so short be?
Date: May 6, 2018
Location: Prudential Center, Newark, New Jersey
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Jonathan Coachman, Tom Phillips
Yes, it is another great show as we are nearing the end of the longest month in WWE history. This is the third part of the Wrestlemania and Greatest Royal Rumble trilogy, which means it's time to redeem Roman Reigns. Again. Other than that, we have AJ Styles defending the Smackdown world title against Shinsuke Nakamura for the third time this month. Let's do it.
Kickoff Sow: Ruby Riott vs. Bayley
The Riott Squad is in Ruby's corner and there is no Sasha Banks, despite Bayley asking him to be here. They fight over a headlock to start, but Bayley knocks him down, only to lose an elbow. A distraction from Sarah Logan allows Ruby to enter an STO and we take a break. Back with Ruby lowering one knee and grasping a chin. Logan offers another distraction to avoid a return, followed by Riott sending Bayley with his face to the middle buckle first.
It's a cravate for a moment until Bayley wields a trampoline double trampoline (which only hits) for two. Bayley slips out for a hurricane on Logan and breaks Ruby's throat through the ropes. The top rope elbow receives two, but Liv Morgan climbs onto the apron, allowing Ruby to hit Riott's Kick for the pin at 10:07.
Classification: C-. This was a breakthrough match in history and that's fine for what they had here. Basically, they had a Raw game and made it clear that Bayley needs Sasha to help win this fight, even if they don't get along. That was accomplished in about ten minutes and the crowd warms up instead of doing two real bouts and a title fight over the course of an hour and a half. See how much better that is?
The opening video asks what Backlash is, moving on to a discussion about how everything changes tonight with the shows being shared. You know, unlike Wrestlemania and Greatest Royal Rumble, they had no co-branding.
Intercontinental Title: Seth Rollins vs. The Miz
Miz is challenging and this is Raw vs. Smackdown. Cole already makes me scratch my head saying the last person to rebrand was Rob Van Dam in 2002. From what I can find, there have been around five of those cases in between, including Dean Ambrose the year Last and MIZ the year before. They fight for a wristwatch to start with Rollins bringing out his best but being kicked from the top to the floor.
Miz sends it to his face first to the announcers table and it's chin time. One knee in the ribs sets up a DDT for two in Seth and he's pretty much all Miz from the start. Miz hits a crotch attack by running backwards, but Rollins sends him to the corner. A suicide dive has Miz in more trouble, and a build-up accumulates two. The Blockbuster gets the same thing and Rollins is rolling until Miz throws it in front of the apron.
Not that it matters, as Rollins knocks him down and scores with the frog splash for two. Another suicide dive breaks with a forearm, making it time for a punch to the apron. However, the broken cord's knee hits the post (thud) and Miz grabs Figure Four. With the announcers guaranteeing a new champion, Rollins turns him around a bit, but returns him, sending him straight to the ropes for the break. The Skull Crushing Finale breaks and Rollins nails the enzyme.
However, Rollins adjusts his knee and now the Finale connects to close two. The clothesline in the corner connects, but Rollins can reach the superplex. However, the knee yields to Falcon Arrow's attempt and a second Skull Crushing Finale gets … two in a pleasant surprise. Of course, that was canceled since the Finale now seems pretty loose, but how else are you supposed to make someone look tough other than get them kicked out? A super Stomp fails, but Rollins escapes from the Final, configuring the Stomp for a delayed pin to retain the title at 20:34.
Classification: YES-. They were going for the great epic combat here and that flew out the window as soon as the Skull Crushing Finale didn't work. At the time, you knew Rollins wasn't losing here (you could argue that that was the case as soon as it was advertised as a brand versus brand) and the rest was just that Rollins was limping between doing all his usual stuff while WWE talked about how awesome what was it. It was still good enough, but far from what WWE is going to present as being.
We recap Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss. Nia won the title at Wrestlemania after dealing with Alexa intimidating her for months. This turned into Bliss saying Nia was the real bully, including some hilarious PSA-style Bliss cartoons that talked about Nia being a horrible person. Tonight is the rematch with Bliss trying to regain the title.
Raw Women Title: Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax
Nia is defending. Bliss goes straight to the knee (he must have been watching the previous game) and tries to sleep fast. Nia bends her arm back and throws Bliss, but a kick to the head knocks the champion down. A little trash talk gets Bliss in trouble when Nia puts her on his shoulders (and calls a bunch of stitches) until Bliss shakes her eyes.
Nia can still throw it from the top and then throw it from corner to corner three times in a row. The eggs, at least, don't seem to be stuck. However, Bliss pushes her from the top to break a Vader Bomb and a DDT on the steps hits the champion. Back and Nia attempts Samoa's super fall, but gets kicked in the leg to give Alexa two more. Twisted Bliss takes too long and the fall of Samoa retains Nia's title at 10:37.
Classification: D. I understand that they have to complete the time, but OMG, they couldn't miss the point with this dispute if they tried. The two games have been combined to be about twenty minutes and should have been about a tenth of that. Bliss shouldn't be any kind of physical threat to Nia, but they made her get close to hitting Nia multiple times, which is as dumb as possible. The fans weren't interested in this and I can't blame them a bit because neither do I. Nia is not an interesting champion, but we will keep her with the title for now because … something about bullying.
After the game, Nia says it was for everyone who has been bullied. So the solution to bullying is to grow to twice the size of the stalker and beat them?
We watch Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar in cage combat at Greatest Royal Rumble.
Samoa Joe says he will beat Reigns tonight.
US Title USA: Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy
Orton is challenging after winning a triple threat match a few weeks ago. Jeff is elbowed in the face to start and a shoulder knocks him down for the first two. He backs up and Jeff sends him outside by the clothesline from his apron, only to be hit by two back inside. Orton sends him to the Tree of Woe and walks away as the "methodical" rhythm continues. They head outside with Jeff hitting Poetry In Motion off the steps and there goes the shirt.
Back and Orton tosses it back outside, placing three straight drops on the barricade. Once inside and this time Orton drops it onto the top rope to change the beat a bit. We got to the chin and the announcers mentioned Orton losing the Smackdown world title to Jinder Mahal at this show last year. In case the game wasn't boring enough as you see. The RUSEV DAY chants begin, so I guess you can mark it to lose in two minutes on Tuesday.
Jeff finally fights and hits a dropkick from the basement to install Whisper in the Wind (with Orton standing there and watching him as Jeff climbs the ropes). The Twist of Fate and RKO are countered, so Orton settles for two outside the powerslam. Jeff misses the corner sling shot (the Hardiac Arrest, which I like) and Orton stays there a little longer. Hanging DDT connects but RKO counteracts in a Twist of Fate. Jeff drops the Swanton to hold at 12:02.
Classification: D. No. I've seen Orton try harder at a house show. This was a coincidence that I would send to the cook and ask him to try it this time. It was clear they weren't even trying here and that makes for a very long game when there isn't much history in the first place. And yet somehow this was better than the original idea of Orton vs. Mahal.
Here is Elias for a song. However, before he starts, he talks about being friends with Bruce Springsteen, who calls him the boss and regrets being from New Jersey. Elias told Bruce to tune in tonight because Bruce is going to like his song. Fans keep clapping to keep Elias from singing. He gets up and taunts him going over and over to draw some BOO / YAY chants until New Day interrupts him with Big E. carrying a brass band drum.
Elias: "Do you guys want some autographs or something?" New Day wants to walk with Elias, but that means a solo performance. Elias tells Jojo to introduce him again, but here is Aiden English to interrupt them with a song about how New Day needs to keep the merchandise and Elias plays a good guitar, but today is Rusev Day.
Rusev says it is not about Bob Dylan smuggling, but Elias says that this is his night and tells Jojo to present it again. Now it is not possible for José to interrupt with a conga line, including Titus Worldwide and Breezango. It seems Elias wants to shoot himself (sorry for you, buddy) and even Graves feels sorry for him. Elias says that he cuts the music and Jojo makes his introduction for the fourth time. This time Bobby Roode interrupts with a glorious DDT and everyone leaves in the conga line. Well, except for the English that Rusev cuts.
By the way, it's around 9:30 p.m. EST and we have five games left. This show is on the east coast, so yes, they are expected to be in the arena until after midnight on Sunday night.
We recap Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass. Bryan is back in the ring and Cass approached Smackdown in the Superstar Shakeup. Cass is a bully to someone Bryan's size and wants to show him what a superstar should be like. For unclear reasons, Cass is not yet Miz's new bodyguard.
Big Cass vs. Daniel Bryan
Bryan kicks the knee to get started (this is the second game of four tonight to focus on bullying and the third of four to include someone who works on the knee) and tests the YES Kicks until Cass destroys it. For reasons of being pretty horrible people with no taste for fighting (or life in general), fans love Enzo.
Cass stops to pose before hitting hard on the ropes. Bryan slips out of a power bomb over his shoulder and kicks in the corner, but is thrown into the air by a big crash. A running clothesline returns to Bryan for two, but Cass misses the big boot. That's enough to get the big head kick ready and Bryan knocks him down, hits the side of the head and grabs the YES block for the quick hit at 7:57.
Classification: D +. Yes, that's really for Bryan's only pay-per-view return: a television game with Bryan easily dispatching someone whom he should have dispatched quite easily. I'm as surprised as you are, but remember that they had to invent something to make up for the time they spent in the HILARIO segment that occurred between games.
After the game, Cass beats Bryan even more and hits the big boot.
We recap the match for the women's Smackdown title. Carmella collected money from the Bank to take the title from Charlotte on Smackdown after Wrestlemania and Charlotte try to regain the title of the least talented champion. The iconics have also been tormenting Charlotte.
Smackdown Women's Title: Carmella vs. Charlotte
Carmella fights back and they exchange props to start. Charlotte so misses a big boot that I had to back up to make sure I wasn't seeing things. That sends Carmella to the ground (presumably with the wind knocking her down) and tries to leave with the title, only to be sent back inside. Charlotte sends her out, but gets caught with a super kick for two. We hit the chin with Carmella telling the referee to ask him. She is not Canadian enough for that.
Lots of shrieking ensues, followed by Carmella spinning in both arms at once. Charlotte kicks her, but first hits her head against the apron to cut it again. Back and Carmella tries the Staten Island Shuffle but is thrown in half. Carmella is back with the Code of Silence (the Crossface leg) but Charlotte turns off. Charlotte climbs up to the moon, bends her knee, gets kicked in the knee, and rolls up for the pin at 10:00.
Classification: D. That would be four out of five games involving a knee injury. Carmella winning clean helps a little, but every day she has the title is another day that someone like Becky Lynch doesn't have, which is quite irritating. She is a very good character, but I am above the champion of "this person could be defeated at any time". The match was as tolerable as it was going to be, and that is all I can praise.
We recap the world title on Smackdown. AJ Styles beat Shinsuke Nakamura to retain the title at Wrestlemania, but Nakamura went insane and has abused Styles' groin ever since. Tonight there is no DQ with styles that want revenge.
And yes, this means Reigns is in the headlines. Again.
Smackdown World Title: AJ Styles Vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Styles is defending, there are no disqualifications, and this is the third time they have had a great game in four weeks, making it a recurring dream dream. Nakamura channels his inner Kevin Owens and falls to the ground on the bell. AJ will have none of that and sends him to the barricade, followed by kicking backwards. They fight to the ground again with Styles sending his face and ribs first to the barricade.
Nakamura returns to GO AFTER THE KNEE (takes a crazy shot) and hits some knees on the head as the fans part again. The pace slows down and Nakamura gets two from a knee drop. A hard kick to the head drops AJ again and heads for a front lock. The No DQ rule has only been a factor for a moment thus far and has meant nothing since they re-entered. The hold is released and Nakamura throws it to the ground. AJ begins a comeback until another knee shot interrupts him, followed by a dragon sleeper back inside.
That also escaped and Nakamura hits a knee running into the corner. The knee that jumps off the middle rope receives two on AJ and it's time for a chair. AJ hits him but is kicked in the head for his efforts. The reverse bang on the chair receives two, but AJ pulls the chair to Nakamura's knee (with the chair bouncing off AJ's face, drawing blood from his knee). The calf crusher continues, but Nakamura is reversed in a triangular choke.
AJ turns on and hits a running forearm on the back of Nakamura's head for two. There is a low blow, but AJ hits one of his own to equalize things. They struggle to stand up and the stereo bass hits knock them both down. The referee reaches ten and that's a double knockout, which means AJ holds at 21:12.
Classification: YES-. This is where the largest Royal Rumble hurts things. That ending would be fine in the second game of a fight, but it's the second draw in nine days. There was no reason not to give Nakamura the title here and now we probably have to wait for Money in the Bank to hit the big bang. The No DQ thing wasn't a big factor here, but that's to be expected in something like this. I enjoyed what I saw, but egads stop stretching things by stretching things.
Bobby Lashley / Braun Strowman vs. Sami Zayn / Kevin Owens
The consequences of some recent matches, including the first match between these teams a few weeks ago on Raw. Sami hides from Lashley to start before blocking him for little success. Owens enters, receives a supplement and returns it to Sami, who is sent to the announcers' table. A dropkick pulls Lashley off the apron and begins the beating, including Sami's chin. Lashley returns with a downward spiral, but Owens breaks a hot tag attempt.
The actual active tag arrives a few seconds later and Strowman comes to clean the house. The chase continues with Strowman running over Owens, catching Sami to throw him onto the barricade, and then executing Owens again to continue the gag (ahem). Sami carries a kick from Helluva, but chooses to retreat. Owens convinces him to stay, but Sami throws Owens back to face Strowman. Sami tries his luck and retires again, leaving Owens to grab a Lashley spinebuster. The vertical suplex pins delayed (the illegal) Owens at 8:20.
Classification: D. Yes, this takes time on pay per view, and yes, a former world champion just got caught by a vertical suplex. In some ways, this felt even less interesting than I expected, even if it was almost the same as they did on Raw a few weeks ago. However, this is a program in a nutshell: we've seen it before and this time it's not that interesting.
After the game, Sami screams when Owens takes a PowerSlam.
We recap Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe. In short, Roman is sad that he can't beat Brock Lesnar, so Joe is going to drown him for his misery.
Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns
Joe jumps at it before the bell rings, drawing cheers even louder than before. They fight to the ground and Joe Rock pushes him across the table before the game starts. Reigns is thrown onto the tables of two broadcasters, but arrives in the ring and says he can leave. The bell rings and Joe walks away in the corner, followed by a knee drop. Cole's Analysis: Reigns doesn't want to lose tonight. We hit the crank with Joe saying that Reigns just has to go. So Joe is the new voice for the voiceless.
Reigns fights but eats an enzyme in the corner for two. It goes to another chin when the BORED songs begin. Joe sends him out by the suicide elbow and we hit his arm because he hasn't felt enough anymore. Fans try a chant THIS IS BORING before continuing the booing. Reigns struggles and hits a big boot, followed by the dropkick apron. Some clotheslines (run and corner variety) have Joe in trouble, but he knocks Reigns down and takes two out of the splash guard. Fans: "PLEASE DO SOMETHING!"
A spinebuster gives Reigns two, but a second apron is countered in a choke. That too has been broken and Reigns pulls two out of the Superman Punch. The songs of the Rusev Day are cut when Joe cuts a spear with a kick to the head. The spear strikes a few seconds later with Joe putting his foot on the ropes for two.
Another lance crashes with another lance and the Koquina Clutch continues. Reigns accumulates it in a rollup for two, but an O & # 39; Connor Roll is countered in another clutch. Reigns is about to fight, but it's enough for Joe to leave the hold for whatever reason. He steps back and the spear ends with Joe at 6:08 PM.
Classification: RE-. Reigns wins. Why? Why HAHA for that! This was a mess with a big chunk of the game spent in warehouses, possibly just by being able to blame Joe for the bad game (would that really surprise you?) And then HAHA SPEAR FOR THE PIN. Reigns gets his win to feel better, while Joe loses again because who cares about Joe (or so WWE says). Totally terrible main event with the wrong ending in the wrong place on the card in front of a crowd that didn't care at all.
General rating: RE-. He wanted to call this a failure, but the coincidences between the Intercontinental Title and the Smackdown World Title barely keep him afloat. The problem here was not about the fight, which while bad, had gotten much worse before. This was a combination of nothing happening (no title changes, little angle advancement, and AJ vs. Nakamura continues) and the feeling that the company that created it had never done a major show. There was never a point when I was excited or interested in what was happening here and the show seemed like it would never end.
Nine days ago, the Greatest Royal Rumble lasted more than five hours, but this show felt longer. It was really so calm and boring that in the end I was desperately trying to find something that mattered to me. I don't know if creativity is out of ideas (REALLY bad sign so close to Wrestlemania) or if the wrestlers just ran out, but we're back to where we were before Greatest Royal Rumble started. Aside from Matt and Wyatt being team champions, what has changed since then? We are really going in a circle at this point and I'm not sure why Money in the Bank is going to make things better.
This show was far from the worst I have ever seen, but it was one of the largest wrecks I have ever seen. There is no flow to the show, there is little logic in the reserve, there is very little that interests me, and now we will have to wait for Reigns to regain his smile or whatever he is doing while waiting for the next game for the title of Lesnar. to be created. There are some nice moments here, but OMG these people seem to need a vacation soon. Let's have a good rest or change something, because I haven't seen them empty like this in a long time.
Thomas Hall has been a fan of wrestling for over thirty years and has watched over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling critic since 2009 with over 5,000 complete shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.comor take a look his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest professional wrestling news by subscribing to our daily email newsletter. Just look below for "GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES" to sign up. Thank you for reading!
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