But, that’s for tomorrow night. Tonight? Tonight, we get things kicked off with the RAW leadership team, as well as the first-ever Universal Champion, Finn Balor, with some big news. More, much more, on that later in the ‘shell.
Best Match of the night:
Sami Zayn and Rollins, for the opening bout, probably deserves this nod. Reigns and Jericho was also better than I expected, but I expected a strong showing from Jericho. I am a believer that, whether as a face or heel, Jericho for all he has done, deserves another title reign. I mean, if Lesnar can get a sham reign, why can’t one of the generation’s best all around stars get one more run with the gold? Especially now that there are two big belts. Problem is, Chris is all too happy, by his own admission, to put guys over.
Worst match of the night:
Strowman and Knockout. I mean, I get it. It’s the old WWE Superstars formula: get big brute. Feed him scrubs. Make him into a monster. Except Braun isn’t new, and we’ve seen him crush and squash actual established stars (like Roman Reigns). So, this is hard to figure out what WWE has in mind for him.
Crowd Chants of the Night:
You deserve it
We want Bayley
Yes! Yes! Yes!
We want Slater
Get the tables
We want tables.
You can’t wrestle.
Let’s go Roman/Roman sucks (worth noting, if my ears heard right, it sounded like the majority of the let’s go chants were female, and the sucks chants were male. Not sure if it’s true, but read into that what you wish).
Star of the Night
Hmm. I want to give this to a couple different people.
1- Finn Balor. This one is honorary, for what he accomplished last night, and for relinquishing with dignity. And, oh yeah, if he really sustained the injury from the move it sounds like he did? I applaud for the vast amounts of testicular fortitude, because if the injury was bad enough to require surgery, and yet he finished the match (and there was a lot of match left), then damn. Respect.
2- Bayley. No, her match wasn’t anything spectacular. But it was a match, for Bayley, on RAW. The crowd loved her, Mick Foley was happy to have her. Hopefully she can stay healthy and become the yin to Charlotte’s yang.
Spot of the Night:
Magic Killer on the outside. Ouch. Magic Killer through the table? Big ouch. I have a feeling there are two tables with the names of Anderson and Gallows on them. Perhaps a TLC match.
Jobber of the Night:
Johnny Knockout. Seriously, was there any doubt? Strowman is a monster-perhaps a monster with an extremely limited move set-but a monster. Not sure how much longer they will feed him the jobbers, same as they are doing with Nia…unless they are trying to build him up, if I didn’t know any better I would say WWE is trying to make him less green…in which case, there is this place called NXT…not that they’d ever demote someone.
Upset of the Night:
I really don’t have one here. I want to say Reigns over Jericho, but I think everyone and their brother knew Y2J wasn’t going to actually beat Reigns.
Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:
Less than 24 hours after winning the first ever Universal Championship? Balor is relinquishing it, due to a shoulder injury suffered/made worse during the match. Stop me if you’ve heard this, but apparently it was from a Rollins bucklebomb.
Bayley gets her much-desired, slightly-delayed, main roster debut, and she’s going right for Charlotte.
Stop me if you’ve seen this before in pro wrestling, but a teased retirement announcement turns into an angle, as Bubba Ray and Devon basically said they were retiring, got the face turn, beat up The Shining Stars and then got destroyed by Anderson and Gallows, as they put Devon through a table with a Magic Killer. I am willing to bet that we have not seen the last of the Dudleys.
Botch of the night:
Bayley, fresh in the ring, appeared to look for the mic in the wrong corner. Or, it wasn’t where she was told it was supposed to be. It happens.
Titus, with issues on the mic. Not being mean to him, but I think he’s one of those guys that just screams for a mouthpiece. Get him Slick, make him a new Heyman guy, get him a valet. Someone else to speak for him. Not saying that’s the only thing holding him back (he’s got in ring deficiencies too). But if he was all action and someone else was all talk on his behalf? I think it would be a wise move.
Commentary of the night:
He’s going to be Johnny Knocked Out after this.
Spoken like a true used car salesman, Saxton
Last night Charlotte silenced New York City. Tonight, Bayley woke it up.
LOL Moment of the night:
Johnny Knockout, Braun’s jobber, saying he “likes big, sweaty men”. Excuse me?
Balor relinquishing the belt.
Dudleys retiring. Turning face. Beating up Primo and Epico, and then getting beat up by Anderson and Gallows.
We get a fatal fourway, next week, to decide who will (hopefully) hold the Universal Title for longer than 24 hours, as Rollins, Kevin Owens, Big Cass and Roman Reigns are going to duke it out.
Balor having to relinquish the title. It’s got to be frustrating for Balor. It’s not a lowlight like I usually have here. It was just a sucky moment. Not unlike Rollins needing to do the same after destroying his knee, or Daniel Bryan due to his head and neck issues. Does not matter how I feel about the champion (i.e., Seth is a heel, but does the work so well, you respect that), you don’t like seeing a guy lose it like that.
Also reminds me of how much Lesnar’s reign really sucked, because he went months without a defense, and these guys relinquished quickly. Granted, we knew the injuries were going to cause long term absences…but still.
Reigns in the title match next week. With all the newer blood, we couldn’t have found a way for anyone else to get a shot?
Bayley’s debut. Finally.
The handling of Balor.
The tournament for the fatal fourway, to again decide the Universal Champion.
After the final bell:
One not so popular thought on Balor. I love the guy, and it was an awesome moment….BUT…if the shoulder injury was known about beforehand (and we’ve heard it might have been, and thus might have been exacerbated by the bucklebomb), then wouldn’t WWE have been better off putting him on the shelf and fixing him, BEFORE putting the strap on him? Because you literally JUST had a tournament to decide who would face Rollins, and now you have to have one 24 hours after the first match to fill the vacancy. Just…weird. Bad luck, bad planning or both.
And, factor into that, or at least consider, that if the injury is from the bump (which, looking at replays, either Balor sold it like he was shot, or he was really busted up on it and it wasn’t hard to sell it like he was hurt), it would not be the first bump from Rollins that put someone on the shelf, either for a while, or for good. If that’s the case, WWE really has to look, long and hard, at some of the moves Rollins is doing. The bucklebomb, for example, might look sweet, but if it’s putting big names out of action, or contributing to it, perhaps it needs to go the way of certain other moves and become forbidden. (I temper this by saying, if Balor was working injured, then this one can’t be fully attributed to the move).
As for the Fourway next week, to fill the vacancy? I think WWE could have done a better job booking it. Or made it a tournament, with a one on one finale. No one, it seems, wants to see Roman Reigns in the match. Well, no one except, maybe, his family and people with a Stamford area code. I like Big Cass, but this seems too soon for him, especially since Enzo and Cass haven’t even been up as a tag team that long. So I see this only going two ways-either Owens or Rollins wins it. I think Cass would be a stunner, and Reigns winning could cause a riot.