By Gwen Lombard
WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW
Seth Rollins opened this week’s show by assuring that, despite his bad back getting even worse during the Last Man Standing match he endured, he won’t be relinquishing the title but that he’s only just getting started! Drew McIntyre then came down to challenge Seth for the Heavyweight Championship once he’s back to feeling 100% at the Crown Jewel PPV on November 4th. Damien Priest then attacked Seth from behind, and Drew began to walk away. He did stop Dominik from handing Damien the Money In The Bank briefcase, however, so he’s not entirely indifferent. Seth approached him backstage later on and asked why he interfered with Dominik for him, but never has for the New Day. Drew simply said he’s not sticking his nose in anyone else’s business, unless their business is his business, such as Seth retaining his title until the 4th. It was then shown that Damien gave marching orders to JD McDonagh in the form of having a match against Drew later on in the night.
Kofi Kingston then took on Ivar in a Viking Rules match. If you’re wondering just what that means, so was I when it was announced! In the end, though, it seems like another name for a No Disqualification match. This was another great match from these two, and once more Ivar pinned Kofi for the win off of a stunning Moonsault.
Nia Jax took on Raquel Rodriguez next in a perfectly average television match that ended in a disqualification. Rhea Ripley ran in to brawl with Jax but was then beaten down by Shayna Baszler. A match was then made official when Rhea demanded to have a match against Shayna for next week. I’m just happy that Shayna is getting television time again that’s not in random tag team pairings.
Jey Uso and Cody Rhodes then came out to celebrate their title win but were quickly interrupted by Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. They aired their grievances about Jey holding the Tag Team titles again after they worked so hard to beat him and Jimmy at WrestleMania to win them. This set up a match later on in the night with the titles on the line.
We then had a great triple threat match between Bronson Reed, Chad Gable, and Ricochet to decide a number one contender to challenge for Gunther’s Intercontinental Championship next week. Shinsuke Namaura attacked Ricochet from behind during his entrance in an attempt to get back at him for interrupting his promo earlier and now, despite a rather emphatic loss at Fastlane, it doesn’t feel like Namaura’s lost any of his momentum. Ricochet still fought in the match despite getting jumped, and this was an amazing match between the three. In the end, Bronson Reed stood tall and now has a match against Gunther for next week.
Drew McIntyre then took on JD McDonagh in a pretty fun match, despite how short it was. Dominik attempted to interfere almost immediately, but that proved inconsequential as Drew put a quick end to JD.
Wade Barret interviewed DIY, the tag team of Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, but the interview was cut criminally short by Kaiser and Giovanni Vinci of Imperium attacking DIY. This is going to be a great rivalry, and I cannot wait for their first match against each other.
Becky Lynch then defended her NXT Women’s Title against Teagan Nox in a pretty great match. Teagan hasn’t been given nearly enough time to prove herself as a viable threat headed into this match, but that didn’t stop her from putting Becky in some edge-of-your-seat near falls. In the end, Becky retained her title, and Teagan walked away with some valuable lessons learned.
The main event saw Kevin and Sami challenge Cody and Jey in a fantastic match. Emotions boiled over until the match broke down into a straight-up fight until Jey and Cody hit their new CO 1D finishing move on Kevin and won. In a great show of character growth, Kevin hugged Jey after the match, and both teams celebrated together to end the show. This is my recommendation for the night; it was a great match and I’m a sucker for Kevin reluctantly showing character growth despite all his complaining that he’s never going to change. It’s lovely to see.
This week’s episode of Dynamite aired on Tuesday as a specialty episode and opened with Bryan Danielson taking on Swerve Strickland to decide the number one contender for Christian Cage’s TNT title. This was a wonderful match, Swerve’s great offense feeding into Danielson’s superb selling for some great near falls. In the end, Danielson won after capitalizing on some brief Hangman Page interference, setting up him versus Christian on Saturday on Collision.
Next, we saw Powerhouse Hobbs, the newest acquisition of the Don Callis Family, absolutely demolish Chris Jericho in a quick match that saw Hobbs hit not just 4, not 5, but 6 Spinebusters on Jericho, followed by 2 World’s Strongest Slams, capped off with the cockiest cover I’ve seen in a while. This was a great first showing for Hobbs in this new faction, and I can’t help but think this is how he should’ve been going about matches for months now.
It was then announced in a backstage segment that Jon Moxley is still not medically cleared to compete, and therefore he cannot face Rey Fenix for the title. It was ever so handy then that Orange Cassidy, former International Champion who misses having a title very badly, happened to be walking by at that exact moment. He then replaced Moxley and had a great match against Rey Fenix with some wonderful back-and-forth exchanges. Cassidy won in the end, regaining his International Champion almost exactly a year to the day when he originally won it back on Oct. 12th, 2022. He even got confetti when he won, and I’m just a sucker when they bust out confetti. I love confetti. Celebrate everything with more confetti. This has been a confetti PSA.
During a picture-in-picture ad break, we saw Timeless Toni Storm in her latest silent movie “Lovers Lament”, which only featured her running after some unknown lover. Insert Martin Scorsese This is cinema meme here.
We then got an amazing match between Hangman Page and Jay White. I know I keep repeating this, but AEW is finally seeing the real capabilities of White. His promo skills are amazing, and his in-ring abilities are on par with the best of them. This is the White I’ve been waiting for, and he’s finally delivering. This match was great, and Hangman ended up having to face the consequences of his decisions earlier in the night when Swerve’s henchman Prince Nana came down and attacked him behind the referee’s back. White was able to capitalize on this and take the win. MJF then came out onto the entrance ramp to demand his stolen AEW Championship belt back from White, explaining that he’s trying to be a better person now than he used to be because he used to be just like Jay. Jay said that if MJF could find three other friends to face off against the Bang Bang Gang in an 8-man tag match, he would return to the championship. Juice Robinson grabbed the mic next, telling MJF that the Dynamite Diamond Battle Royal (a battle royal where the winner gets possession of the Dynamite Diamond Ring for the next calendar year or so) is next week, and to put his name in there because he’s going to win and take the ring right from MJF’s finger himself. He then held up a roll of quarters with Friedman written across it, MJF’s last name. After being so vocal about the bullying he received in school with kids throwing coins at him in the halls, then being faced with this, MJF stormed backstage. Later on in the night, MJF was approached backstage by Max Caster and the Acclaimed where Caster offered the Acclaimed’s services for the 8-man match against the Bang Bang Gang. MJF didn’t respond, only huffing and storming off. Caster explained to Daddy Ass and Anthony Bowens that MJF is his friend, and he thought he could help out his friend a bit, not to mention he likes it when MJF plays hard to get like this. So it’s only a matter of time before we see them team, I just know it.
Next, we got Hikaru Shida versus Saraya for the Women’s Championship. This was a fun match with some great near-falls for both women. Toni Storm chased off Ruby Soho, and once her Outcast faction mate had been forced from her, Saraya couldn’t manage to pull out the win, and Hikaru Shida won the Women’s Championship for the historic 3rd time. This was a solid match with a great showing from both women, but congratulations are for the first-ever 3 time Women’s Champion. She also got confetti when she won, and I stand by the fact that everything is better when you celebrate with confetti. More confetti, all of the time. This has been another confetti PSA.
Finally, our main event saw Adam Copeland take on Luchasaurus in his in-ring debut. This match was wonderfully done, with a fun finish to further different aspects of this story. Christian tried to knockout Copeland with the TNT belt, but Copeland took it, hit Luchasaurus in the back of the head, and threw it back to Christian in time for Luchasaurus to turn around to see all the evidence he needed to think Christian hit him. This was an excellent step forward to what will eventually be Luchasaurus proving Copeland was right when he turns on Christian. This brief distraction left just enough room for Copeland to hit a Spear and win the match. This was a great main event, and probably my match of the night. Some great in-ring action topped off with the proof that the 49-year-old Copeland, who once had to retire for nine years due to a severe neck injury, can still go the distance. This was just a lot of fun to see.
Ring the celebratory bells, and bring out the fireworks and confetti, Roman Reigns has returned to Smackdown. He opened the show by interrupting John Cena, who was in the ring about to cut a promo to the crowd. John said that as much as he’d love to face Roman, he knows that he hasn’t earned that ability yet. Someone who has, however, is LA Knight. This then brought Knight out to confront Reigns, and it quickly devolved into a brawl as Jimmy Uso and Solo Sikoa tried to blindside Knight. This set up our main event later on of Knight versus Solo.
The tag team of Pretty Deadly then made their triumphant return to action after Elton Princes’ knee injury, by immediately faking another injury to get the surprise win over the Brawling Brutes. This was exactly what I was expecting of them upon their return, and I cannot state how happy I am that they lived up to it. They’re the light-hearted goofiness that professional wrestling needs to offset the heavy melodramatic soap opera that The Bloodline portrays. Pretty Deadly does this job wonderfully and they make wrestling a little bit sillier. Which, let’s be honest, is already a little silly.
Bayley took on Zelina Vega next, in a match that I really wish had gotten more time. Both these women are amazing when given the chance to shine, and they weren’t given that here. This was a perfectly solid match for what it was, I just wish it had been more. Bayley beat Zelina in a little over two minutes, and Charlotte Flair ran down to make the save on Zelina’s behalf when Iyo joined Bayley in attacking Zelina after the bell had rung.
We then got the television return of Triple H where he announced that WWE Official Adam Pierce will be receiving a promotion for all of the hard work he’s done. He’ll now officially be the General Manager of Monday Night Raw. His position on Smackdown, however, will be taken over by the new General Manager of Smackdown, Nick Aldis. Aldis then reminded the audience that when Jey Uso was traded to Raw back in late August, someone had to be traded from Raw to Smackdown to make it an even deal. That trade is Kevin Owens. I have mixed feelings about this move honestly, as I’m always down to see Owens on my screen in any capacity, but this forces the break of his tag team with Sami Zayn, which had been one of the highlights of Raw for several months. However, let’s look on the bright side and hope that Kevin will have some great singles matches shortly.
A tag team match next saw Jey Uso and Cody Rhodes take on the team of Austin Theory and Grayson Waller. This was a match that was over pretty quickly, though it managed to last longer than Bayley versus Zelina, with Cody and Jey hitting their Co-1D finisher together on Theory for the win. The real meat of this segment came after the match though, as Cody and Jey were walking back up the ramp to head backstage. They came face to face with Jimmy and Solo, seemingly teasing a future tag team title match between the two teams. That ended however when Roman Reigns’ music hit once again, and he came down to stare directly into Cody’s eyes, not saying a word. A reminder that even after he defeated Cody back at WrestleMania, their story still isn’t quite finished yet.
Solo Sikoa versus LA Knight was our main event, with these two wrestling a great match against each other. LA Knight is an extremely talented wrestler, and Solo’s only starting his career and is already matching Knight’s intensity and skill. Jimmy slid into the ring at one point to try and interfere on Solo’s behalf but was cut off by Cena who ran down for the save, allowing Knight to get the win over Solo. After he got his hand raised by the referee, Knight turned around to immediately get absolutely plastered with a Spear from Reigns to end the show.
The show opened this week with a six-man tag match that saw Daddy Magic, Angelo Parker, and Daniel Garcia teaming together to take on the Hardy Boys and Brother Zay. This was a fun television opening match, but nothing of note happened. These two teams have had so many matches against each other that they know how to put on a fun match, and they did just that. In the end, Garcia hit a DDT on Zay and pinned him to win.
Jay Lethal took on Trent Baretta next in a great match that showed off both men. Neither of them has gotten a lot of television time over the past few months, and it was nice to see them get a length match with each other. Throughout the match, Lethal focused on Baretta’s knee, targeting his offense against it. This strategy paid off in the end when Baretta’s knee gave out, letting Lethal capitalize and hit his Lethal Injection finisher for the win.
We then got Skye Blue, looking even darker and with even more attitude, taking on Emi Sakura. This was a solid match that featured some fun nearfalls, and some great offense on both sides. Blue was able to finally get the upper hand, hitting Emi with a great Thrust Kick, followed by her Code Blue finisher to win the match. This set up Blue to take on Kris Statlander for a TBS title opportunity on Collision.
The main event this week saw Blackpool Combat Club’s Claudio Castagnoli and Wheeler Yuta take on the Mogul Embassy’s Gates of Agony in a blisteringly hard-hitting match. This was a great pairing of teams with Gates of Agony playing the immovable object to BCC’s unstoppable force. This match had stiff Elbow Strikes, Chops, and some downright brawling at times, and it was a lot of fun to watch. In the end, Yuta was able to capitalize off a double-team move he and Claudio pulled off, and pin Bishop Kaun for the win. This is my recommendation from the night, as it was great fun to watch.
The show opened with Adam Copeland making his way down to the ring to discuss his continuing issues with Christian Cage. This brought Christian out (along with five security guards, Luchasaurus, and Nick Wayne) to let Adam know he didn’t appreciate him talking about him like this when he had a main event match to prepare for. He mentioned that he had Bryan Danielson’s faction mates in BCC escorted out of the building earlier to ensure a fair fight, and he was going to do the same for Adam. Danielson then came down to announce that he got Tony Kahn to agree to ban Luchasaurus and Nick Wayne from ringside during their main event to ensure a fair fight. Then, the Tag Team Champions Ricky Starks and Big Bill came down in an attempt to kick everybody else out for taking up time that should belong to them, the new AEW Tag Team Champions. After some bickering between Ricky and Adam, Ricky laid out a challenge to him and Bryan, saying that if a fight is what they’re looking for, they can get one. Before Adam or Bryan could respond, FTR came down to the ring to tell Ricky and Bill that despite not getting an automatic rematch for the titles, they’ll earn their way back and they’re coming for their necks in the meantime. It then broke down into a large brawl between everybody, ending when Bryan locked in his submission finisher on one of Christian’s security guards as he, Adam, and FTR stood tall in the ring.
Our first match of the night saw Samoa Joe defend his ROH World Television Title against Willie Mack. This was a great match, two true heavyweights hitting just as hard as heavyweights can. These two fed off each other wonderfully, each showing off their strength and trying to show up the other. This was a lot of fun to watch, especially when Joe hit an incredible Muscle Buster on Mack in the middle of the ring to win and retain his title.
Juice Robinson was in action next, taking on ‘The Fallen Angel’ Christopher Daniels. This was a perfectly fine match, though I wish I could say more about it. The most exciting part of this match was when the Bang Bang Gang tried to get involved, and Daniels had to try to outsmart and evade them. In the end, he couldn’t manage to and he fell victim to The Juice Is Loose, a Front Facelock Driver that planted him firmly into the ground, letting Juice get the win. After the match, Jay White gave Juice his version of the Dynamite Diamond Ring, which he then used to knock out Daniels once again. Juice reiterated that it’s not the ring that makes his punch lethal, he just needs the fist, and that MJF should be scared.
Kyle Fletcher then took on Boulder of the Iron Savages in the next match, and this was a great showing for Kyle. Boulder is a much bigger opponent than Kyle usually faces, not to mention the fact that Kyle is still getting used to singles competition, but he showed off his abilities here, both his highflying offense that I’ve come to appreciate in his tag team matches, but also showing off the fact he’d strong as well, and you can’t discredit him. This was a great match for Kyle, and he won in the end.
We got a backstage segment next with Renee Paquette interviewing The Acclaimed. It almost immediately evolved into Bowens and Daddy Ass trying to help Caster with his relationship skills so he can be better friends with MJF, primarily his “talking to people without using so many sexual innuendos” skillset. This did not go over well and Caster failed his first lesson, only to then be approached by Angelo Parker, Daddy Magic, Daniel Garcia, and Jake Hager who berated them for being goofy and overstaying their comedic welcome and laid down a challenge to The Acclaimed for an opportunity at the Trios Championships next week in Memphis.
Skye Blue challenged Kris Statlander for the TBS Title next, and this was a fun match where both women shined. Skye gave Kris a solid run for her money, catching her in several close near-falls and hitting her with some great moves. Kris endured through all of this, however, utilizing her strength to overcome Skye in the end and win. She extended her hand in a show of respect and sportsmanship to help Skye up to her feet, but Skye slapped it away. It looked like Kris was going to extend her hand again, but Willow Nightingale ran down to get between the two, ushering Kris away and helping Skye herself.
The main event saw Bryan Danielson challenge Christian Cage for the TNT Title. This was a phenomenal match that went almost thirty minutes in total featuring amazing near-falls, some brutal moves, and Christian targeting Danielson’s just recently healed arm. Danielson put up a great technical fight against Christian’s more opportunistic style, and this resulted in a great finish that saw Danielson sink in his LeBell Lock submission, and nearly had Christian tapping out when Big Bill ran down to distract the referee. This allowed Ricky Starks to sneak in, hitting a drive-by swipe to Danielson’s face with his AEW Tag Team belt, knocking him out and letting Christian simply roll over into the cover to retain his title. Seconds after the bell rang, Luchasaurus and Nick Wayne came down so they could all beat down Danielson. FTR ran down in an attempt to even the number game, but it wasn’t until Adam Copeland made his entrance that the tables turned in their favor. With his help, they chased Christian and his lackeys out of the ring, standing tall to a chorus of cheers from the audience to close the show.