Welcome to YourWorld’s new weekly column Watchin’ Rasslin’. While growing up in Mississippi, that was probably one of my most common phrases. When asked what I was doing, I always said “watchin’ rasslin’.” I guess that’s what everyone was doing this week.
WWE put on two great shows last weekend. Saturday featured NXT TakeOver: Chicago II. Every match on the card actually meant something. I admittedly only watched one episode of NXT between this TakeOver and the last. My job has been keeping me busy, but I still followed the stories. Each match had me sitting at the edge of my seat.
The first match saw The Undisputed Era defeat Oney Lorcan and Danny Burch to retain their NXT Tag Team Championship. This was an amazing match. The Undisputed Era showed once again why they are the top guys of NXT. This faction is pure talent, and their chemistry mixed well with Lorcan and Burch. I’m hoping when these guys make it to the main roster, WWE gives them the Nexus treatment. Just please don’t job them out to John Cena or Roman Reigns.
Ricochet defeated Velveteen Dream. I was really rooting for Dream in this match. I know they couldn’t have Ricochet lose his first two TakeOver matches, but Dream is so good. He does such a great job pulling off an arrogant, flamboyant showoff. His tribute to Hulk Hogan was also a nice touch. I’m just not into the Ricochet hype.
Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano had another five-star match that went over 30 minutes. These two have great chemistry. After a brutal match, Ciampa was able to sneak in a win by hitting Gargano with a DDT on the unprotected wood in the ring…while still handcuffed. I think it is time for Ciampa to go on and have a match with Aleister Black for the NXT Championship.
Shayna Baszler defeated Nikki Cross to retain the NXT Women’s Championship, and Aleister Black defeated Lars Sullivan to retain the NXT Championship. These were also good matches and told great stories. Cross played her psychotic character perfectly in her match. Her smile as she passed out was a great piece of storytelling.
Money in the Bank on Sunday was also a great pay-per-view. I won’t go into details for every match, but I will touch on the important moments. Money in the Bank basically set the tone of the WWE for the second half of 2018.
The Bludgeon Brothers defeated Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championship. Daniel Bryan made Big Cass tap out again, and Cass would be fired from the WWE two days later. Bobby Lashley pinned Sami Zayn after a normal suplex, which looked really dumb. Seth Rollins defeated Elias by grabbing his tights to retain the Intercontinental Championship. This was a great match. Roman Reigns also defeated Jinder Mahal in what was a match the crowd was not interested in. At one point, the crowd chanted “this is awful.”
Alexa Bliss won the women’s Money in the Bank match. This was disappointing as it would have been better storytelling if Natalya won the contract. Bliss would later attack Ronda Rousey in her championship match against Nia Jax. Rousey won by disqualification, but Bliss would also destroy Jax with the briefcase. She cashed in on Jax and won her fifth women’s championship.
Carmella defeated Asuka to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship with help from the returning James Ellsworth. This was the highlight of my night. I am a big fan of the man once known as Jimmy Dream. The chinless wonder is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. He deserves a permanent spot on the main roster, and he deserves a shot at the WWE Championship again.
AJ Styles defeated Shinsuke Nakamura in a phenomenal last man standing match. This was the five-star match of the night. It had good storytelling with both men hitting each other with low blows. I am disappointed that Nakamura didn’t win. He deserves a run with the WWE Championship. If AJ Styles holds the title until SummerSlam, he will become the longest reigning WWE Champion in Smackdown history at 285 days.
Braun Strowman won the men’s Money in the Bank match. I’m happy with this outcome. I would have rather seen the Miz or Samoa Joe win it, but I think both of them will have a run with the WWE Championship in the near future. Strowman dominated this match. At one point, he threw Kevin Owens off a 20-foot ladder. I’m rooting for Strowman to be the man to dethrone Brock Lesnar for the Universal Championship.
Raw the next night continued the string of great events. I’ll just touch on a few moments from the show since I’ve already spent so much time talking about the pay-per-views.
The night started with a bang when Alexa Bliss was celebrating her fifth championship win. She would be interrupted by Kurt Angle who told her she would be defending her Raw Women’s Championship against Nia Jax at Extreme Rules. Ronda Rousey then came out to seek her revenge. She destroyed both Bliss and Angle with the Money in the Bank briefcase Bliss had in the ring. She then powerbombed Bliss into a table to end the segment. Angle would later suspend Rousey for 30 days.
Seth Rollins defended his Intercontinental Championship against Dolph Ziggler. With a little assist from Drew McIntyre, Ziggler rolled up Rollins to win his sixth Intercontinental Championship. This was a shocking win, and I like the direction WWE is going with Ziggler and McIntyre. Holding a championship makes the duo look dominant. Rollins will be getting a rematch on the next episode of Raw.
Kurt Angle said there will be a multi-man match at Extreme Rules to name the next contender to Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship. The first two men named for the match are Bobby Lashley and Roman Reigns. The two would later defeat the Revival in a tag match. It’s sad to see such a great team like the Revival be turned into jobbers.
The main event saw Constable Corbin and Kevin Owens defeat Finn Balor and Braun Strowman in a tag team match. Balor took the pin again. I think this was the right decision. It made Corbin and Owens look strong without hurting Strowman. I think Balor is boring now. All he does is just smile. He is a watered down shell of the demon he once was.
Smackdown on Tuesday was a fourth great show in a row. Again, I won’t go into all the details, but I’ll hit the important spots. We already know a few of our stories going into SummerSlam now.
The show started with Carmella coming out to gloat about retaining her championship against Asuka. My boy James Ellsworth came out a few moments later. I’m telling you. He’s the best in the world. Asuka then came out, but after a distraction from Ellsworth, Carmella kicked her in the face.
The Bludgeon Brothers defeated Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championship again. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson are a great team. I feel like they deserve more than they are getting. Let’s team them up with AJ Styles to form The Club again.
The main event was a gauntlet match involving Daniel Bryan, Big E, Samoa Joe, the Miz, and Rusev. This match would determine who would face AJ Styles for the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules. Rusev won the match by making the Miz tap out at the end. Rusev is finally getting the spotlight he deserves.
NXT also held a big event in the UK on Tuesday. Tyler Bate and Trent Seven defeated The Undisputed Era for the NXT Tag Team Championship on the show. This will be airing next Tuesday on the WWE Network. Then on Thursday at an NXT taping in Orlando, The Undisputed Era defeated Bate and Seven to win the NXT Tag Team Championship back. This will air on an episode of NXT in the future. Mustache Mountain only held the tag titles for two days.
I could go into this week’s episodes of 205 Live and NXT, but I am honestly too busy with work throughout the week to watch everything. From what I saw Saturday through Tuesday, this was a great week for WWE fans. Happy Rusev Day!
Author: Casey Ryan
Casey Ryan is a co-founder of YourWorld Media. He is an expert in professional wrestling, gaming, and politics. He received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Central Florida. In the past, he interned at the National Journalism Center, at The Heritage Foundation, and for Speaker Newt Gingrich. While he is a proud Mississippi native, he currently lives in Washington, D.C.