Lucha Underground had some interesting matches last week and that was where we started this week before Raw. We saw a four way match won by Daga, who was really talked up during his debut and then put up against Mascarita Sagrada Jr., Kobra Moon and Argenis. It was nice to see him get a win but it was strange what he had to do to get it. A singles match versus Argenis probably could have had a similar effect without the comedy. Killshot defeated Marty The Moth in an impressive fashion and in the main event Chavo Guerrero Jr. won the Gifts of the Gods Championship only to be informed by Cage that Chavo will be defending it next week against him. It's always strange to me how people do this in wrestling and it always seems to pay off. I'm not saying Cage will defeat Chavo next week because he also angered everyone else in the main event of this episode, but he is at least getting his title shot.
So let's say you work at a job that is in the business world with a corporate ladder and all of that. Let's say you somehow got some dirt on a co-worker of yours who is at the same level as you. Would you not only wait for that co-worker to get promoted but also help that co-worker to get promoted so then you can dish the dirt and claim the promotion for your own? Yeah, it really sounds kind of crazy when you think of it outside of professional wrestling, but it is also funny that Chavo will have to defend the Gift of the Gods Championship before he can even attempt to cash it in.
This also means that Cage could become Gift of the Gods Champion (let's hope not), cash in the title shot (please no) and become Lucha Underground Champion. But if Cage becomes Lucha Underground Champion I'm out. Like fans who boycotted Smack Down! when Khali was World Champion, I will not watch Lucha Underground if Cage holds the Lucha Underground Championship. It probably won't make a bit of difference to them or their ratings, but still... I refuse to watch a promotion while they back Cage as their champ.
Raw opened with Seth Rollins this week. The crowd was on his side, cheering and chanting for him, but he stayed true to his character and isn't coming back as a face but rather just as the loveable heel he was before he left. The funny thing is, he said that everyone who was so happy to have him back were also the same people who said he was the worst WWE Champion ever and they couldn't wait for him to lose the title. There is some truth to that, but I've always been a fan of Seth Rollins and his title reign was among the best of recent memory, as he was the best heel in all of professional wrestling before going out with an injury. Not only did he never actually lose the title, but that means that big moment is still to come where someone finally defeats the villain the way Dusty Rhodes did Ric Flair back in the day. Rollins needs that title back like yesterday.
Roman Reigns came out to confront Seth Rollins and Shane McMahon made the match official for Money In The Bank-- Reigns vs. Rollins for the title.
In a Money In The Bank qualifying match Sami Zayn defeated Sheamus. I liked Sheamus' promo before the match about how Sami Zayn wears a stupid hat. It was actually funny. Zayn getting the win doesn't really bother me though because a) I'd really rather not see Sheamus in the MITB match and b) it just means Zayn gets to take some crazy bumps but I doubt he'll win it.
Apollo Crews was shown being interviewed by Renee Young when Sheamus attacked him. So, yeah, Apollo Crews isn't going to qualify for MITB but will go into a feud with Sheamus instead. Hopefully these two can make it work. Tag matches between Sheamus/Rusev vs. Crews/Kalisto might even be cool.
The Hulu replay cut to what felt like the middle of the Cesaro-Miz match, which Cesaro won because a) he's Cesaro and he's being booked fairly strong since returning and b) The Miz is the IC Champion so hopefully he'll have a match in which he defends that title at the MITB PPV, as opposed to most other times when champions were put into the match itself. So yeah, I don't know who could earn a shot right now, but there has to be someone for Miz to face at MITB, right?
Chris Jericho defeated Apollo Crews to qualify for MITB and now we know three of the participants. Sami Zayn is the "wild card" like Sin Cara has been in the past, Cesaro is a solid pick and Jericho goes in as the veteran, much like Kane has done in the past years. (Haha, Jericho is Kane now) This was still a decent match though and even though he lost it is perhaps the best use of Apollo Crews since he came up to the main roster.
Earlier in the show, New Day defeated The Social Outcasts and after the Y2J-Crews match Big Cass defeated Bubba Dudley but we missed both of those matches because the Hulu 90 minute replay instead wanted us to see... Wait for it... Charlotte dump her father. Yes, Charlotte turned on Ric Flair. Does this make any bit of sense to anyone else out there? First off, if Charlotte is so upset with her father not being there and having to watch him on television, shouldn't she have felt these things when she started using him as a shady manager? Oh, but now she's got some wins over Natalya and suddenly she's too good for Ric Flair? Don't ditch him until he starts costing you matches, that's Heel Logic 101. Still, despite the lack of logic in this segment (and I might even agree that Charlotte wants to break out on her own and feels like she's finally powerful enough to do so, to which extent there is some twisted logic behind it) it came down to Charlotte fumbling through her lines and losing her voice to say that while everyone else thought of Ric Flair as being immortal to her he is dead. This is just... It's up there with when it was Bella vs. Bella and the one told the other "I wish you died in the womb" for how awful and forced it felt. Big angles like this should not be handed to those who cannot act so well. The worst part is that when Charlotte said something along the lines of "When I look back to my childhood, do you know what I see?" and I said out loud, "Your brother?" Yeah, even I'll admit that crossed some lines but this was just such a horrible segment to have to suffer through. I think Ric Flair was only crying because of how awful it was.
Dean Ambrose defeated Dolph Ziggler to qualify for MITB because even though Ziggler seems like a good fit for MITB he'll likely open the pre-show against Baron Corbin again. And in the main event Kevin Owens defeated AJ Styles (after Styles talked with Gallows & Anderson) to also qualify for the MITB match. Remember when AJ Styles first came to WWE and was put against The Miz? Miz wasn't IC Champion then, so why not Miz vs. AJ for the IC Title at MITB PPV? Also, if it's exclusive to The WWE Network are they really PPVs anymore? But yeah, we have Kevin Owens as entrant number five in the MITB Ladder Match and it's just rounding out rather nicely with the participants this year. No clear losers except for Sami Zayn, but like I said, at least we'll get to see him take some nice bumps.
Following Raw, it was announced that Eden (aka the wife of Cody Rhodes) asked for and was granted her release from WWE. This isn't really a big deal since a lot of non in-ring talent had been shaken up recently so I could see this release happening even if she didn't request it and her husband didn't leave. We'll just chalk it up there with Rich Brennen and whoever.
It was also announced that Smack Down! will be moving to Tuesday nights, going live and will now have a different roster than Raw so the brand split is returning. I kind of wanted to see this as Vince McMahon's big announcement recently but they instead just reveal it as a story on WWE.com. Makes sense to me. I mean, why would you want to say it in front of a live crowd and have them cheer the decision? Though, I suppose, with the draft and all forthcoming we'll be hearing enough about it over the next few weeks anyway, so why not try and get those website hits.
Could a brand split mean a second MITB match at the PPV of the same name??
We watched NXT after Raw, mainly because I had to work late both Tuesday and Wednesday night so we split Raw into two nights instead of one and then just watched NXT like usual on Thursday. The show opened with William Regal saying that Bayley had been injured at the hands of Nia Jax and so tonight it would be a triple threat match between Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss and Carmella to see who would face Asuka at Take Over. Oddly enough, it was pointed out that Bayley would then cash in her rematch clause at a later date which got me to think Carmella might win tonight, take the title from Asuka and then Bayley would have to cash in on her best friend Carmella, but thankfully that didn't happen.
The first match this week saw Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa defeat the team of TM61, formerly TMDk in NOAH and the such. I saw TMDk on a Wrestle Kingdom event so I know what they can do and even though they lost this match it was one of the better tag matches I had seen in quite some time. Seriously, go out of your way to see it.
Austin Aries said he should be next in line for the NXT Title after Samoa Joe defends it against Finn Balor. This brings out Shinsuke Nakamura, who also wants a shot, and so William Regal makes it Aries vs. Nakamura at Take Over and that will certainly be the Match of the Night if not the Match of the Year. Prepare to be outdone again, Sami Zayn. Time for these two to shine.
No Way Jose defeated a local competitor (Okay, I just don't feel like typing his name) and this was a good win for Jose. The fans are really getting behind him and I'm digging the fact that he can be fun outside of the ring but as soon as the bell rings it's right down to business and using his size to his advantage.
In the main event of NXT, Nia Jax defeated both Alexa Bliss and Carmella to go on to face Asuka at Take Over and, really, this was the best option. Who doesn't want to watch Asuka vs. Nia Jax forever? It's like Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong but on a whole new level. Overall this made for a good show this week with two solid matches and a squash but we are also setting up a solid card for Take Over, which needs to be done since some of the top NXT guys are on the main roster now.
Matt Hardy opens up Impact and apparently he has a British accent now. Matt says he has a contract for a Full Metal Mayhem Match against "brother Nero" at Slammiversary. Rockstar Spud and Tyrus come out and Spud has words for Matthew. The duo basically says that Matt looks awful after recently losing the Jeff so what's going to become of him if he loses at Slammiversary? So, rather than have Matt's back they're thinking about him losing. Matt says the contract will hang above the ring tonight and if Jeff can defeat Spud & Tyrus then it's onto Slammiversary but if Spud & Tyrus lose in a ladder match then they can no longer associate with Matthew Vincent Hardlesome.
EC3 makes his entrance as Matt Hardy never left the ring and it's EC3's final stop on his road to redemption. How can EC3 win this one and Matt lose since they both have big matches planned for Slammiversary? What's next- Jeff Hardy vs. Mike Bennett? Drew Galloway vs. Mike Bennett? Jeff Hardy vs. Lashley? This is somewhat poor booking. They should have had this match *last* week because it would have made Spud & Tyrus seem more sincere in their concern for Matt Hardy to lose against Jeff since he couldn't beat EC3. But hindsight is 20/20 right TNA? Josh Mathews really questioned whether or not we'd see Matt vs. Nero in Full Metal Mayhem at Slammiversary. Why would Matt tease it if it wasn't going to come true?? EC3 won the match, of course, when Mike Bennett attacked him, so I guess that kind of works in a way but a clean loss for Matt last week would have been better.
Not Cherry Bomb comes out and introduces Maria who says that social media says everyone loves Velvet Sky. The fans started a "We Want Velvet" chant and apparently Maria doesn't read my tweets because I don't like Velvet Sky. Though, the official Impact Wrestling Twitter account has blocked me and I never seem to have nice things to say about Maria, so there's also that. Gail Kim comes out because WHY SHOULD ANY FEUD IN TNA EVER END and even she admits she's starting to sound like a broken record. Gail Kim in NXT sounds good to me. Maria says that she could fire Velvet because she's the leader of the KO Division. Man, maybe some of the ladies in that match would have fought harder if they knew it could come with the power to fire people. Also... Why doesn't Maria just fire Gail Kim? Put her in a match she can't win and fire her. But then Maria has the same idea as me (scary) and says if Gail loses her match she's fired. Man, I really want Gail Kim to get fired from TNA so she can go back to WWE. Sienna blindsides Gail Kim and we are underway. As much as I like both Cherry Bomb and AK-47 I'm not sure why they're paired up with Maria. Ugh.
Grado is having a backstage segment with his friend and then there is a weird phone conversation between BroMans. More Impact Talking after this! Gail Kim has comments because why not and then we go to an Al Snow video package. Yes, really. Al Snow comes out for a street fight against Grado and Snow says he's "your mom's favorite wrestler". This could actually be true. Al Snow hides behind Not The Titantron and jumps Grado from behind, you know, as if Al Snow is basically admitting he watches PROGRESS Wrestling. This was a bad match, even for Al Snow. Those two guys who couldn't get over in NXT- Marcus Louis and Sylvester Lefort or something like that- came out, attacked Grado and his Indian friend, giving Al Snow the win. If WWE doesn't use a talent properly, I'm all for that person going to TNA. But the only thing Marcus Louis ever did was get called an uggo by Tyler Breeze. These two should go to somewhere like Japan or Mexico to gain a following before trying to be the students of Al Snow.
Matt Hardy just scared his baby and walked away.
Lashley came out and Drew Galloway followed. I recently stumbled upon a live chat with Drew Galloway on Facebook. I asked him why he looks like Bram but I'm pretty sure he didn't answer me. Dixie Carter comes out and books Galloway vs. Lashley in a submission match for Slammiversary. Dixie says you can only win by knockout or tap out but as the Charlotte-Natalya match from Extreme Rules taught us (and every other submission match ever in professional wrestling) getting knocked out is a form of submitting.
Eddie Edwards, DJZ, Andrew Everett and Trevor Lee took part in an Ultimate X match for the title. Shouldn't this have been saved for their next PPV- Slammiversary- and they could have instead been doing qualifying matches right now? Oh well. At one point, Trevor Lee was using Everett's shoulders to stand on to try and get the title. Where is Tigre Uno?? The commentators called for an Eddie Edwards win and Trevor Lee somehow snuck in the win instead. That was kind of clever and a Trevor Lee-Eddie Edwards match could be good for now until Davey Richards returns to properly fight the Helms Dynasty.
Gail Kim obviously defeated Sienna so she didn't have to leave TNA, and yet, she beat Sienna cleanly. Should Sienna really be losing this early in her career? Maria came down after the match to beat up Gail Kim, but see, if they had Matt Hardy lose cleanly last week or even this week and they used that in his bid to not face his brother, then Gail Kim could have gotten the DQ win instead of EC3. Ah well. We need more KO segments in TNA and maybe even more KOs in general.
Spud is backstage with Tyrus and I think their plan is for Tyrus to hold Jeff down while Spud climbs the ladder. I'm not sure though because Tyrus is wearing a camo cap with the MLB logo on the back and I'm trying to figure out which team it is.
BroMans meet their guru and she has purple hair. O...K. At this point it just feels like TNA wants you to try and choose which one of their current storylines is the most ridiculous. Are they being sponsored by Wrestle Crap now??
Onto the main event. Jeff seemed to be signing CDs on his way out for fans when Spud jumped him. Josh Mathews reminded us there are no DQs in a ladder match but he should inform Dixie Carter of the rules of a submission match. Tyrus tried climbing the ladder but was too fat so Jeff ended up winning and this was not the brightest of days for TNA.
Smack Down! opened this week with Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and Dean Ambrose making their cases for winning the MITB briefcase. This brought out Alberto Del Rio- who was won MITB before- and Sami pointed out that he wasn't even in the match. Cue the ADR vs. Zack Ryder match, though I'm pretty sure this was the foreshadowing that gave away Alberto Del Rio's win. It was a decent enough match with Zack Ryder though. Now there remains only one participant to be revealed in the MITB Ladder Match and I think it will be... Bo Dallas. #BOLieve
Big Cass and Enzo Amore were out next. Enzo Amore made his surprise return on Raw this past Monday but it was EDITED OUT of the Hulu 90 minute replay because WWE felt like we would rather see Charlotte yell at her daddy. The Dudleys came out, accepted a challenge from the two but then said it wouldn't be until Monday on Raw. I call for shenanigans and then a rematch of some sort at the MITB PPV.
Rusev defeated Kalisto in their rematch which WWE likes to make to hype up shows but usually the matches fall short of being anything like the original ones. After the match, Titus O'Neil- who I almost mistakenly typed as "Tits O'Neil"- came out to challenge Rusev and, yes, in 2016 a "U-S-A!" chant broke out. Which is funny because everyone knows Titus O'Neil is from Mexico. Just kidding. Maybe. Don't look that up. If we see Titus "Tits" O'Neil vs. Rusev at MITB then, yeah, that could be a real showstealer of a match.
In the next match, Dana Brooke lost to Natalya when Charlotte interfered. It felt at first like Natalya didn't need someone to come out and help her but by the end she was left like she could have used a save from Becky Lynch, Paige or Sasha Banks. I'm hoping that if Natalya brings out some help then maybe Charlotte can also build up The Four Horsewomen. She just needs two more women and there is a Blanchard and an Ellering in NXT that would be perfect.
Breezeango (what WWE.com calls Tyler Breeze and Fandango) defeated The Golden Truth. After the match, when backstage, Goldust said to R-Truth that just because they lost two matches now it doesn't make them two time losers. Umm... I'm pretty sure that's the very definition of two time losers. After all that, Seth Rollins came out to the ring and did kind of what he did on Raw, so there was that.
In the main event, The Miz defeated Cesaro to retain the IC Title. It's kind of strange because I always question the booking decisions of TNA but feel sometimes like I'm giving WWE a pass for some reason. Now, it wasn't likely that The Miz was going to lose this match and his title but rather go defend it against someone at MITB. Like I'm saying, Apollo Crews should be free that night. But then you have Cesaro going into his MITB Ladder Match, which should be a tougher challenge for him than The Miz because if Cesaro wins that match he gets a WWE Title match. So, basically what it seems like is if Cesaro cannot defeat The Miz, how will he be able to defeat six other guys and then if he does manage that, ultimately defeat the WWE CHampion as well? I know crazier things have happened- like AJ Styles losing to Chris Jericho at WM32 and then becoming Number One Contender the next night on Raw- but this is some of that flawed booking I think. This match should have ended in a DQ with Kevin Owens coming out, followed by Sami Zayn, etc. It would have been more predictable, sure, but it wouldn't have made it feel like Cesaro was going to lose at MITB. Next up we'll see Sami Zayn lose to Rusev on Raw, right? I'm only saying that these guys in the MITB Ladder Match should be protected going into their match. WWE loves DQ endings, so why can't they throw one in here? It's hard to take Cesaro serious heading into the MITB match now, but at the same time, he was never really my pick to win it anyway so I guess I can't be too sore about him being in it over someone else.
Main Event was just all right this week, though the Social Outcasts (and then there were three) took on New Day and that was pretty funny. Baron Corbin vs. Jack Swagger was a good match as well. But we ended the week on Monday- Memorial Day- and while most people were watching Raw we were watching the latest episode of Lucha Underground. We opened with Pentagon Jr. getting ready to return to The Temple and Vampiro telling him he is ready but not to face the monster yet. This, this is how you build up a return. WWE needs to take notes when Bray Wyatt is fully healed.
Voodoo Glow Skulls is the house band and the seventeen year old in me gets a cheap pop! Joey Ryan wins the opening match against Mascarita Sagrada and while Matt Striker wonders why Sagrada has not won since accepting the services of Famous B, I thought about how Joey Ryan was trending as a wrestler who wasn't working on a national television deal (Twice I believe- once for the super penis and once for proposing in ring) and also I'm wondering what it means with the release of El Torito from WWE because I do believe he was a Mascarita Sagrada at one point. Oh well. Famous B needs to get his new J.O.B Squad in order.
In a Gift of the Gods Title match- surprising to none- Cage defeated Chavo Guerrero and said he'd be cashing in next week. Good, that gives everyone who doesn't like him enough time to join forces and stop him from being Lucha Underground Champion. I will admit that I don't dislike Cage as much as I used to- he's kind of growing on me- but I'm still just not a fan. Also, why didn't Cage just enter the match last week and win to avoid this match happening if that was the intent all along? Seems like poor booking by Lucha Underground, which is something I don't often say, but it just feels like this time could have then been spent developing other talents and feuds.
Mr. Cisco caught Joey Ryan and Cortez Castro going through Dario Cueto's office. When Cisco says he's going to tell Cueto since he left them out of the steal, Joey Ryan pulls a gun out of nowhere and is prepared to shoot Cisco (seemingly for the kill) before Castro can get in the way and arrest Cisco! It's our first official arrest on Lucha Underground and, um, I know Joey Ryan was reacting under pressure but wouldn't a gun shot have made more sound and blood then they'd want in that scenario?
In the main event, the team of Jack Evans, PJ Black and Johnny Mundo defeated Rey Mysterio Jr, Dragon Azteca Jr and Prince Puma to capture the LU Trios Titles. This was set up when Johnny Mundo and Taya beat down Fenix in the locker room. Mundo is just such a natural fit with PJ Black and Jack Evans because of their in ring style, look and everything-- this just made sense and I was glad to see the title change happen. I like the team of masks but they just weren't doing a lot for me and I think we're going to have more fun with this new team as champions. As Matt Striker wondered whether or not Jack Evans calling himself "The Dragon Killer" in reference to Drago or all dragons because Dragon Azteca Jr is in this match, I wondered why LU has so many damn dragons. If the team of Ivelisse/Son of Havoc/Angelico comes back and gets a title shot once Angelico is healed, then that means we'll see Angelico vs. Jack Evans on some level and I'm so used to seeing them together in AAA, so that should be interesting.
Overall this was a good week for Lucha Underground and we get a title shot next week plus perhaps the aftermath of Mr. Cisco being arrested and Pentagon Jr. is ever looming on the horizon, waiting to make his return.