Week of 4/2/2018 - 4/8/2018 (Monday - Wednesday)
Monday Night Raw
Date: April 2, 2018
Location: Phillips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Jonathan Coachman
Should he do something? Over the last few weeks, John Cena has come off as a complete jerk to Undertaker, basically demanding that Undertaker come out of what seems to be retirement to face him. Why would Undertaker do this? Well apparently because the people want to see it and nearly thirty years in WWE isn’t enough to make them happy. Or so Cena says. Let’s get to it.
We open with Coach in the ring to emcee a sitdown between Stephanie McMahon (Who dances to the ring and looks like she doesn’t have a care in the world. I know she’s the boss and all that jazz, but could you PLEASE look at least a little worried? It’s Ronda Rousey, not Dana Brooke. This feels like Hollywood Hogan coming to the ring at Starrcade 1997 and that’s not a good thing), HHH, Kurt Angle and Ronda Rousey.
Stephanie mocks the fans for cheering for Rousey and HHH calls Angle’s third I (intelligence) into question. Rousey should be the biggest signing WWE could ever have and Angle is giving her a match on the biggest stage of them all. This is a whopper even for Angle and HHH needs to know why. Rousey cuts Angle off and says she’d like to know too. Why did they sign her under ulterior motives?
Stephanie says Rousey doesn’t quite get how it works around here and promises to teach her the right way after she’s broken down on Sunday. Rousey knows the format and wants her answer so Stephanie says the two of them work for her. Why did Angle cost Rousey (HHH: “And WWE. Thanks Kurt.”) millions of dollars. Angle says she’s RONDA FREAKING ROUSEY and says she’ll make Stephanie tap on Sunday.
HHH laughs it off and we get some questions from Twitter, mainly asking how big this is. Stephanie promises to give Rousey a loss in her first WWE match. Rousey asks if Stephanie is right or left handed. Stephanie: “I’m a rightie.” Rousey: “Good. I just want to make sure you can still sign my checks after I rip your arm off.”
They go for the photo op and a brawl is imminent but HHH breaks it up. Rousey chokes him down but Stephanie slowly slams her through a table. Stephanie brought the annoying here but Rousey’s comeback line (which she stumbled through at the end) wasn’t being topped. If Stephanie doesn’t tap on Sunday though (or at least lose), I don’t know what to tell you.
Bayley vs. Sonya Deville
Bayley wastes no time with a crossbody for two before Sonya goes after the arm. That earns her a takedown out of the corner but Sonya stomps on Bayley to take us to a break. Back with Bayley in a chinlock but fighting back as you might have expected. Bayley knocks her into the corner and goes up top for a high crossbody and no cover. Even Coach wants to know why that wasn’t a cover. Bayley’s running knee to the head gets two and Sonya bails to the floor. That’s not happening as Bayley throws her back in and finishes with a rollup at 9:55.
Post match the beatdown is on with Sasha Banks running in for the save. Sasha says she wants her hand raised but Bayley will have none of it. A brawl breaks out and Absolution comes back in to beat them both down.
We get a By the Numbers video on Asuka’s streak. This was done before but the numbers are updated here.
4 Continents represented
11 Countries represented
8 Former champions submitted
523 Days as NXT Women’s Champion
7th Longest Reign of all time
1st Woman to be a Survivor Series sole survivor and win a Royal Rumble
29 Women defeated in the Royal Rumble
15 Former Women’s Champions in the Rumble
904 Days undefeated
Congratulations to Miz and Maryse’s daughter.
Finn Balor vs. Seth Rollins
Miz is on commentary as they fight over wristlocks to start. With no one being able to get an advantage, Miz gives a heartfelt speech about how he’s main evented Wrestlemania and won the WWE World Title, but watching his daughter being born was the greatest moment of his life. He held her in his arms and heard her cry and then stop crying. Miz wants her to grow up and be able to be proud of her daddy because having a baby changes people. If Miz isn’t a face off that speech, he’s never going to be again. That was very sweet to hear.
Anyway it’s a standoff as we take an early break. Back with Cole asking Miz if the birth of his daughter is going to make him change his in-ring style. Miz seems to say that it will and promises to give the performance of a lifetime on Sunday. Rollins and Balor slug it out until Seth’s Blockbuster gets two. We hit a chinlock on Balor and get a commercial for AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (good idea actually).
Back (from a split screen) with Balor fighting up and hitting the running forearms to the head. Balor’s Eye of the Hurricane gets two but Rollins sends him outside for a big suicide dive and we take another break. Back with Rollins superkicking Balor’s head off for two as the fans think this is awesome. Rollins gets kicked in the face and the Coup de Grace is loaded up, only to have Rollins hit his superplex.
Balor counters that into a small package for two, followed by Seth’s Wind-Up knee for the same. Rollins’ frog splash hits knees and Balor small packages him for two as the fans are WAY into this. They head outside with Rollins loading up the shoulder destroying Buckle Bomb. That’s countered as well and they head back in with a wicked Stomp finishing Balor at 22:03.
We recap the opening segment.
Announced for the Kickoff Show: both battle royals and the Cruiserweight Title match.
Long video on Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns, starting with Brock winning the title last year at Wrestlemania, then skipping about eleven months to Reigns winning the Elimination Chamber and the ensuing beatdowns at Brock’s hands.
Kurt Angle runs into Paul Heyman in the back and asks him not to cause any more drama tonight as he’s worried about Lesnar’s well being. Heyman finds this hilarious but promises to keep it civil tonight.
Here’s the Bar to say they don’t care who Braun Strowman has as a partner. At some point he has to tag them in and that means they can retain the titles. Cue Strowman, to say he doesn’t play well with others. He has to have a partner though and that means he’s got one. That partner is someone in the back and the partner doesn’t appreciate what they were saying.
The Bar wants the partner to come say it to their face. Strowman agrees, but only if the partner can have a match with one of them. Sheamus says it’s on so Strowman goes to get the partner, who is just like him. Strowman leaves and comes back….in a white shirt and glasses. Strowman: “My brother is Braun. I’m BRAINS!”
Brains Strowman vs. Cesaro
The Bar goes after Strowman, who takes off the glasses to reveal THE RUSE! A Brogue Kick rocks Braun but he shoves both of them away. The Bar bails and I don’t think we’re having a match. No match. That was an actually funny idea, making me think it must be Wrestlemania season.
Goldust is ready for the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal but Matt Hardy interrupts him to say that Argos of Ancient Greece and even Goliath himself have been training him to win the battle royal in honor of Humongous Wonder #8. Tonight, Goldust is scheduled for DELETION!
Matt Hardy vs. Goldust
Joined in progress with Matt applauding Goldust and getting punched in the face for his efforts. A spinebuster gives Goldust two and we hit a chinlock. Back up and Matt gets two off the Side Effect but Goldust gets the same off a powerslam. The first Twist of Fate doesn’t work but the second attempt ends Goldust at 3:09.
Post match Matt goes to the trophy and says PROCURE over and over.
Alexa Bliss and Mickie James suggest Nia Jax is fat and ugly. This needs to be the squashiest squash of all squashifications on Sunday.
Here’s John Cena to say he was wrong because there’s no Undertaker. He’s done everything he could to get Undertaker to DO SOMETHING. That’s not going to get Cena to put his head down though because he won’t walk into New Orleans with his head down. Cena isn’t going to have a match because Cena is going to Wrestlemania as a fan. Earlier today, Cole said go enter the Battle Royal or be Strowman’s partner or be in a triple threat match.
That won’t happen because Cena has lost in his last five pay per view matches. After all that, he would be taking a spot from a full time WWE superstar who has worked hard to earn it. That’s so dumb that I’m not even going to touch it so we’ll move on to Cena wanting one last chance. A match vs. Undertaker will be a match where neither is held back. Now Cena will go to Wrestlemania as a fan and he’s proud of it. He can’t wait to see people like Rollins and Bryan and Rusev and Elias perform on the grandest stage of them all.
Cena offers some praise to the women on the show because success isn’t determined by gender. However, there’s one more thing about Undertaker. The fans did what they could to get Undertaker to Wrestlemania but Cena thinks the fans here in Atlanta haven’t tried yet. Cena: “I don’t think you guys can be loud enough.” He says the cheering here sounds like a Dallas warmup. If they want the lightning they need to be the thunder so let him hear it all the way in Death Valley.
The fans chant for Undertaker but get nothing. Cena says that as soon as you ignore the people, you’re a dead man walking. Now it’s clear that Undertaker left his hat in the ring and his balls at home. That gets nothing either so Cena walks away with no response. Are they really waiting for Sunday to announce this? Because that would be really stupid.
Roman Reigns is in the back when Angle comes in. Angle asks him to leave to keep the peace tonight but Reigns is going to listen to what Heyman says. Roman doesn’t think much of Angle’s fear.
Here’s Elias to say Sunday will be the performance of a lifetime but tonight he’s stuck in this horrible city. He’d rather be in a town that matters but it’s time for a song….which is quickly cut off. They never said what Elias will be doing.
Elias vs. Heath Slater
Elias pounds him down to start and the fans are all behind Slater. After some stomping, Drift Away ends Slater at 1:12.
Strowman is in the back when he runs into Curt Hawkins in a PICK ME BRAUN shirt. Braun asks about Hawkins’ win/loss record and throws him through a wall. Strowman: “There’s your big break.” I’m glad they acknowledged Hawkins as an option.
Rundown of the Wrestlemania Week events.
Earlier today, Nia Jax sat down with Renee Young to talk about what’s been going on with Alexa. She thought Alexa was her best friend and was treated horribly again, just like she was as a child. Those comments hurt and took a toll on her and her confidence. She’s looked in the mirror though and remembered that she’s Nia Jax. Nia: “I don’t take this s***”. She’s big, but that’s who she is and she’s proud of it. With tears in her eyes, Nia promises to squash Bliss like a bug on Sunday. Oh...she better.
Alexa Bliss/Mickie James vs. Dana Brooke/Asuka
Dana and Alexa start things off with Brooke throwing her into a fireman’s carry to freak Bliss out a bit. The fans want Asuka but settle for Mickie hitting Brooke in the face. A takedown gives Dana a breather and we take an abrupt break. Back with Bliss holding Brooke in a chinlock but getting suplexed down. That’s enough for the hot tag to Asuka and it’s time to clean house in short order. Asuka kicks away but gets kicked in the face, giving Mickie two twice in a row. Not that it matters as the Asuka Lock makes Mickie tap at 10:28.
Post match the double beatdown is on but here’s Nia for the save. She gets Bliss by the hair but Mickie makes the save and takes the beating for her.
Heyman and Lesnar assure Angle that nothing will go wrong.
Here are Heyman and Lesnar with wrestlers guarding the entrance. Heyman doesn’t think much of Angle’s actions tonight, including failing as Rousey’s mentor. We hear about how this Sunday is a battle between the two men who have defeated Undertaker at Wrestlemania. People think that this is going to be Roman Reigns’ coronation and Heyman respects everything about Lesnar.
However, this Sunday, Lesnar is going to pin Reigns 1-2-3 after an F5. Should an act of God happen though and Reigns win, Heyman and Lesnar will never appear on Raw again. If they’re leaving though, Brock will say goodbye from UFC but Heyman needs to say something now. You know this aura that Heyman has built up since 2002 of Lesnar being above everyone else and that no one is worthy of polishing his boots? It’s all true, because no one in the locker room can hold his jock, let alone take his title.
If Reigns thinks he’s having a victory party, he’s going to have to go home to his family on Sunday night to say he got beat by Brock Lesnar. Heyman: “Roman Reigns, you’re just Brock Lesnar’s b****.” That’s enough to bring out Reigns, who asks why the full time talent is protecting Lesnar.
They give Reigns a path and it’s time for the in-ring staredown. The fans chant for Roman (remember he played college football in this town) but Lesnar bails to the floor. Lesnar grabs a chair but it gets Superman Punched into his face. Two more have Brock in trouble and a third puts him down. Reigns picks up the title and is promptly F5’d to end the show.
Bayley b. Sonya Deville – Rollup
Seth Rollins b. Finn Balor – The Stomp
Matt Hardy b. Goldust – Twist of Fate
Elias b. Heath Slater – Drift Away
Dana Brooke/Asuka b. Alexa Bliss/Mickie James – Asuka Lock to James
Date: April 3, 2018
Location: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton
There are two hours of WWE TV left until Wrestlemania XXXIV, meaning this episode of Smackdown Live is a very important night. You can guess a lot of what you’ll be seeing tonight but at the same time there’s always the chance of a curve ball. I wouldn’t be expecting WWE to add in that many surprises but you never know around here. Let’s get to it.
Here’s Daniel Bryan to open the show and shockingly enough, the fans seem into him. He wastes no time in bringing out Shane McMahon for the first time in a few weeks. Shane praises Bryan for having the courage to come back and get in this ring despite everyone telling him it would never happen. He brings up having diverticulitis and a hernia thanks to Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn but just like Bryan, he’s medically cleared for Sunday.
Bryan has to apologize to Shane though, because Shane was right about Owens and Zayn all along. Shane says he was a little stubborn over the last six months. Bryan: “YOU? STUBBORN? NO!” Bryan wants a hug but Shane offers a handshake. That’s not working because they shook hands a few minutes ago and the people of Nashville want a HUG. The fans finally get their wish and Shane promises to get rid of Owens and Zayn once and for all.
Charlotte vs. Natalya
Non-title. Charlotte takes it to the mat with a headlock but Natalya reverses into one of her own. A backbreaker gives Charlotte a pair of near falls and the Figure Four neck lock with the face plants has Natalya in more trouble. Charlotte flips her a few times for good measure and Natalya bails to the floor. For some reason Charlotte follows her out and gets posted as we take a break.
Back with an exchange of abdominal stretches (Gorilla Monsoon would be all over Charlotte’s technique) until Charlotte gets two off her kneeling neckbreaker. Natalya jumps on her back for a sleeper but a Backpack Stunner gets Charlotte out of trouble. The moonsault misses though and a double clothesline puts them both down. Cue CARMELLA with the briefcase but Charlotte kicks it away before the match is officially on. That gives us a staredown and Charlotte kicks her….near the face I guess. Natalya tries a sneak attack but gets caught in the Figure Eight for the tap at 13:04.
Post match here’s Asuka to say at Wrestlemania, the Queen bows down to the Empress. Charlotte cuts off the catchphrase and says she’s ready, but she’s not sure about Asuka being ready.
AJ Styles is ready for Shinsuke Nakamura and admits that Nakamura may be in his head. That’s nothing new though because AJ is used to being scrappy against the bigger guys. Nakamura is taking him too lightly because we’re far from the Tokyo Dome and AJ is the WWE Champion. This is a dream match, but the reality is AJ is winning on Sunday. Good promo from the champ here.
Long recap of Bryan/McMahon vs. Owens/Zayn, which has quite the long history at this point. Owens and Zayn attacked Shane, resulting in Bryan firing them. They attacked him too, so it was time for Bryan to have a match and beat them up.
Rusev vs. Jinder Mahal
Bobby Roode is on commentary. Aiden English handles the introductions, which are done in rhyme this time around for a change of pace. The threat of an early Accolade sends Mahal to the floor and we take a break. Back with Mahal hitting a running knee to the face to take over and getting two off a neckbreaker and knee drop.
We hit the chinlock and the fans start up with that RUSEV DAY chant all over again. It’s off to a break with another inset ad for Wrestlemania (Lesnar vs. Reigns this time) and come back with Mahal superkicking Rusev for two. Rusev kicks him in the head as well but it’s too early for the Accolade. The jumping superkick gives Rusev the pin at 9:54.
Post match it’s an RKO for Rusev but Aiden beats Orton down. Roode shoves English off the top and into an RKO though, leaving Orton and Roode to stare each other down. This match still does nothing for me, which seems to be a rather common consensus.
Nakamura says he takes things very seriously and has wanted to be at Wrestlemania his entire career. He knows AJ very well and knows how emotional AJ is. When Styles makes a mistake, it’ll make Nakamura champion with a knee to the face. As usual with Nakamura’s promos, this was fine.
New Day teaches us how to watch Wrestlemania for free. Before Big E. can pull an XBOX out of Woods’ pants, the Usos come in to say the same thing. The Bludgeon Brothers arrive and scare them away before smashing a camera. I was worried they would be selling me the Network as well.
Baron Corbin/Primo/Mojo Rawley/Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder/Breezango/Tye Dillinger
Everyone is in the battle royal. Mojo and Ryder start things off but all eight come in for the staredown and we take an early break. Back with Ziggler and Tye both down before it’s off to Corbin for right hands in the corner. Mojo comes back in but misses a charge in the corner, allowing the hot tag off to Fandango. Snap jabs have Primo in trouble and the Falcon Arrow gets two as everything breaks down. Various people throw others over the top until Corbin tosses Breeze onto the pile in a crazy power display. Fandango walks into End of Days for the pin at 5:38. Not enough shown to rate but this was just a preview for Sunday.
Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable are ready to destroy Nakamura and Styles tonight.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn come through the crowd (with Owens in a KO-MANIA III shirt, thankfully continuing the trend of using the old Wrestlemania logos) onto the announcers’ table. No one is stopping them tonight so they’ve got some apologies of their own. Sami apologizes to Birdie and Brie Danielson for what’s going to happen to Bryan. A YOU DESERVE IT chant started by Sami doesn’t quite catch on but the mic is cut off anyway. Shane and Bryan come out, sending Owens and Zayn bailing into the crowd. Bryan says this is the last time they’ll be on Smackdown and Shane starts the Goodbye Song.
Wrestlemania week rundown.
Shinsuke Nakamura/AJ Styles vs. Shelton Benjamin/Chad Gable
Gable wrestles Nakamura to the mat to start so Shinsuke goes over to AJ and pats him on the head for a tag. Benjamin and Gable are sent to the floor and we take a break. Back with AJ hitting an enziguri on Gable and making the hot tag to Nakamura. House is cleaned in a hurry with the hard strikes until Gable knees him in the head.
The moonsault gets two on Nakamura and we hit the chinlock, plus an inset promo on Asuka vs. Charlotte. Back with Benjamin working on the arm until Nakamura kicks him in the face a few times to get a breather. The hot tag brings in AJ, who glares at Nakamura and finishes Gable with the Phenomenal Forearm at 12:11.
Post match Nakamura gets beaten down but AJ doesn’t save. Instead Nakamura fights them off on his own and AJ springboards in but pulls up before hitting the forearm. A pat to Nakamura’s head has him annoyed as Styles leaves to end the show.
Charlotte b. Natalya – Figure Eight
Rusev b. Jinder Mahal – Jumping superkick
Baron Corbin/Primo/Mojo Rawley/Dolph Ziggler b. Zack Ryder/Breezango/Tye Dillinger – End of Days to Fandango
AJ Styles/Shinsuke Nakamura b. Chad Gable/Shelton Benjamin – Phenomenal Forearm to Gable
Date: April 4, 2018
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Nigel McGuinness, Percy Watson
It’s the final show before the big night in New Orleans and as usual, things continue to change around here. Last week saw the announcement of the six man ladder match for the North American Title and this week we have the finals of the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic. Things are picking up at the right time so let’s get to it.
We open with a video package on the Dusty Classic with various big names (Terry Taylor is included so take this with a grain of salt) showing up to watch the finals. Bobby Fish’s knee injury is confirmed for the first time on NXT TV though and he is NOT currently cleared.
Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Finals: Authors of Pain vs. Roderick Strong/Pete Dunne
After the Big Match Intros, Strong is sent straight into the corner so the Authors can start the beating early. It’s off to Dunne and the fans are VERY pleased as we take an early break. Back with Dunne in trouble with a hard knee to the ribs cutting him off. Akum comes in for a knee to the chest of his own and Dunne is rocked. The top rope stomp/side slam gets two on Dunne but he snaps Akum’s finger and grabs a faceplant for the tag off to Strong.
Akum gets knocked off the apron and some kicks to Razar’s head give Strong two. Dunne comes in for a running enziguri in the corner and top rope double stomp to the back gets two more. Akum is back in and Razar is low bridged to the floor. The assisted Bitter End gets two with Razar making the save but the Authors just run them over with raw power. Everyone is down and here’s the Undisputed Era for the double DQ at 11:53.
Post match here’s William Regal to make the triple threat because champions attacking both challengers NEVER WORKS. As a bonus, the winners will also win the Dusty Classic.
We recap the ladder match announcement.
All six participants are ready to win the title. These are just quick sound bytes about how they should win but at least all six of them are getting TV time.
Long video on the rise and fall of DIY, leading to Tommaso Ciampa turning on Johnny Gargano. After rehabbing his torn ACL, Ciampa came back and screwed Gargano over, forcing him out of NXT. That set up Saturday’s grudge match, which has been built up for nearly a year. Ciampa said he carried the team but it was always about Gargano. For the first time, this is Ciampa’s moment. As usual, this was an excellent video to recap the whole thing and make you want to see the match.
Kairi Sane vs. Vanessa Bourne
Bourne goes simple by stomping on Kairi’s foot, only to get rolled up for a few near falls. A flapjack works a bit better for Bourne and she sends Kairi face first into the buckles over and over. Sane cuts her in half with a spear and the sliding lariat in the corner keeps Bourne in trouble. A top rope forearm looks to up the Insane Elbow but Bourne catches her on top. That just earns her the Alberto Del Rio double stomp and the Insane Elbow is good for the pin on Bourne at 4:17.
Lacey Evans has shown us what a strong woman is capable of and doesn’t like Nikki Cross. She doesn’t like that complete psychos are getting chances instead of her. Evans doesn’t think much of the rest of the division either but plans to take Sane’s chance.
The Undisputed Era catches up with Regal (How hard can he be to find?) with Cole yelling about having to compete twice. Regal says there are three options: Cole wrestles twice, O’Reilly defends the titles on his own, or Cole drops out of the ladder match. None seem agreeable.
Video on Aleister Black vs. Andrade Cien Almas. Black says Almas is buying into his own hype and needs to get the monkey off his back by winning the NXT Title. Zelina Vega says there’s a monster in Almas that Black will soon meet.
We look back at Shayna Baszler and Ember Moon brawling last week. Thankfully TM61 isn’t cut off in mid promo this time.
Moon promises to end the war that Baszler started.
Next week: Kairi Sane vs. Lacey Evans.
Lars Sullivan vs. Killian Dain
They do the big shove off to start with Sullivan getting the better of it and knocking Dain out to the floor. Back from a break with Dain getting his neck cranked. That’s broken up and a backsplash sets up a Vader Bomb, which hits Sullivan’s raised knees. Lars goes up top with Dain trying a superplex but a headbutt knocks them both to the floor instead. With everyone down, here are Velveteen Dream, Adam Cole and EC3 for the staredown. Ricochet runs in and moonsaults into his pose as we’ll say the match is thrown out at 5:30.
A big staredown ends the show.
Authors of Pain vs. Pete Dunne/Roderick Strong went to a double DQ when Undisputed Era interfered
Kairi Sane b. Vanessa Bourne – Insane Elbow
Lars Sullivan vs. Killian Dain went to a no contest when EC3, Ricochet, Adam Cole and Velveteen Dream interfered
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