First Ever Woman Money in the Bank Match

If you’re reading this, you’re fully aware that I am a big fan of the women’s revolution that has gone in the WWE. After the recent Superstar Shake-Up, I’m less hot on the Raw side. But the Smackdown side is killing it right now. All six women in the division; Naomi, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Carmella, Natalya and Tamina Snuka are all very unique with their own personalities. Sure there are some such as Tamina who have yet to really shine but you can see the potential there. I was getting a little wary of the women’s wrestling in the WWE once again as they were all frequently put into multi woman matches and individuality was not let to shine. But after the most recent Smackdown exclusive pay per view or event, it was announced there would be a five woman multi match to determine a number one contender.

The day finally came and the match didn’t even officially get started. Instead all women immediately started brawling with one another. It was clear that they were out to make a highlight of the night and they achieved that. All of the women got a moment to shine during the brawl. It ultimately culminated with Charlotte putting Natalya through a table (with Natalya breaking character with a grin on her face as she heard the cheers). promo320481947.jpg

The Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon came out and quickly announced that all of the women involved would be in the first ever woman Money in the Bank match. I’ve never actually seen a Money in the Bank match other than highlights on YouTube and such. This will be my first time watching not one but two Money in the Bank matches and one is making history. The following week, the women even got their own Money in the Bank briefcase (which has a feminine touch to it).

Becky, Charlotte and Natalya are the three that I am not worried about. Those three are some of the best performers working in the WWE at the moment. Though I have only seen her in action in small bits, Tamina should do just fine in the match as well. The biggest question mark is Carmella. Now I don’t think she’s the worst wrestler but she falls somewhere in the middle. This will be a true test to what she can bring to the table. If her performance in the skirmish is anything to go by, she should be okay. Plus I expect her to win because she has that x-factor in James Ellsworth by her side.

Either way it should make for an interesting match to say the least. It might be bad all things considered but that doesn’t take away the importance of the match. As the women’s roster continues to grow and grow, it is only a matter of time before we start seeing specialty matches that have been exclusive to the men become part of the women’s roster as well. I have been saying for some time I think there should be a midcard and tag team belt in the women’s roster. Now it is only a matter of time before that happens.

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The Roman Reigns Issue

Everyone knows that Vince McMahon loves big, sweaty men. Who is a big sweaty man? Roman Reigns. Now let me preface this by saying, I do not dislike Roman Reigns. I do not know the man personally and I cannot fault anyone for doing what is asked of them in their job. That being said, I dislike what is being done with the whole Roman Reigns thing. He’s clearly being groomed to be the next face of the company but it really isn’t working. Why is that? I mean I can only speak for myself so here’s my take.

Shoved Down My Throat

I know how business works and I know that companies need a face of the company. John Cena is on his way out of the WWE so Roman Reigns does aesthetically make sense to be the new face. But this isn’t the day in age where people aren’t tuned in 24/7. The whole move to make Reigns the new face of the company isn’t particularly smooth either. Winning all the time with little to no challenge gets boring fast. Reigns can work in the ring and I’ll never say that he cannot because he does. Even when he loses, he just comes across boring. When Kevin Owens used brass knuckles against him in a match, Reigns just shrugged it off like they were nothing. Giving him the U.S. Championship and then doing nothing with it. It’s so obvious with what they are doing with him, there is nothing endearing about it.

Who is Roman Reigns?

My biggest issue with Roman Reigns is that I have no idea who this guy is. His mic skills fluctuate as sometimes he works and sometimes he does not. Usually it is a less is more approach when it comes to that aspect. The biggest problem I can think of lately was after the most recent Wrestlemania. In his match, he was the one to effectively retire The Undertaker. Of course this was going to be met with mixed reaction but with Roman Reigns it was definitely divisive. The night after Wrestlemania, he simply stood in the ring while fans chanted insults at him. All the while, Reigns had a smug grin on his face before proclaiming:

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Then the week after that, he was doing an interview where he was talking about how he did not want to retire The Undertaker. During this interview, he was more solemn and had a look of confusion on his face like it wasn’t his intention. This simply flew in the face of what he said and acted like in the week before. Then Braun Strowman came out of nowhere and beat his ass and gave him serious (fake) injuries. But I still don’t get a sense of who he is.

One week, he’s acting heelish and the next he’s acting like a face. It’s not even really a tweener angle that he is going for.

Now we’re back to business as usual with Roman Reigns. Despite being (fake) injured, he’s still going over people perfectly healthy such as Finn Balor. He’s being groomed to face Brock Lesnar at the NEXT Wrestlemania to win the WWE Universal Championship. The rumor is that he will win the Intercontinental Championship and thus become a Grand Slam Champion. It’s really draining to see the favoritism towards Roman Reigns while there are perfectly capable performers right next to him. As said, I do not have a problem with the man himself. But this thing they are doing is just the worst and frankly keeps me away from watching WWE Raw.

WWE Payback (2017) Review

Kevin Owens v. Chris Jericho – U.S. Championship Match

Solid match between the two former best friends. It was a lot better than the one that they had in Wrestlemania. I expected Kevin Owens to win this match considering that Chris Jericho is going on tour with his band this summer. But lo and behold, Jericho actually won the match. After Kevin Owens repeated the touching the ropes with one finger, Jericho went berserk and started beating on Owens’ hand. I thought this was a nice touch and helped explain why Owens couldn’t pull off certain moves later.

Neville v. Austin Aries – Cruiserweight Championship

These two always put on solid matches with one another so this one was no surprise. What made the match was the surprise ending. It was clear that Neville was going to lose after being put into a submission hold. So what did he do? Well assault the referee to get disqualified. So technically Austin Aries won the match but since you can’t win a title due to disqualification, Neville retained. It was a good solid way to keep Neville as a heel and extend the feud between the two.

The Hardy Boyz v. Cesaro & Sheamus – Raw Tag Team Championship

A face versus face match that has been brewing over the past few weeks with distrust between the two teams. This was one of the best matches of the night as all four competitors were giving it their all. There was also some not so subtle “Broken” Matt Hardy going on. There might still be a lawsuit going on for the rights for the gimmick. While Matt wasn’t full on Broken, he was shouting “Delete” and calling Jeff “Nero”. The Hardy Boyz ended up with the victory and and Jeff with a missing tooth. Despite the two teams ending up on mutual respect, Sheamus and Cesaro turned heel by attacking the Hardy’s after. With The Revival out for injury, the tag division needs new heels and they stepped up. This all might be the start to the Hardy’s becoming broken.

Bayley v. Alexa Bliss – Raw Women’s Championship

The biggest surprise of the night. Alexa Bliss beating Bayley to become the Raw Women’s Champion and the first Raw/Smackdown Women’s Champion. Alexa Bliss isn’t the best in ring worker but she certainly stepped up to compete with Bayley. The two had a really good match with Alexa being the opportunist. A ring move where Alexa kicked out and sent Bayley flying into the ring post and thus leaving her dizzy. The ref showed concern for Bayley but Alexa screaming out, “She’s fine!” while beating on her was the highlight for me. With hints about Sasha turning heel to face Bayley have been brewing for a while, this is a new wrinkle in the proceedings.

Bray Wyatt v. Randy Orton – House of Horrors

Here we go, the strangest match of the night. The first half was a pre-taped portion (in Missouri while the actual event was in California) was set in a dilapidated house full of spooky imagery. This segment wasn’t bad, at least to me, but the overly produced look did it no favors. But the second half which took place in the ring where Randy despite being left in the house managed to get there at the same time as Bray was interesting. Of course just as Randy looked like he was going to win, he was attacked by Jinder Mahal and The Singh Brothers. This managed to get Bray the win while heating up the feud between Orton and Mahal. It was an interesting match but not one I’d like to see again any time soon.

Seth Rollins v. Samoa Joe

A solid match between two solid performers. There was nothing really much to this match other than what was mentioned. Rollins managed to get the win due to some trickery on his part. This was a match I could see going any way. But with Rollins beating Joe, it is a way to keep this feud going between the two. The look Joe gave Rollins at the end just screamed that this would continue for at least a few more months.

Roman Reigns v. Braun Strowman

The grudge match between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman continued. Reigns really selling the injury (at least as much as he could) helped the match move along. He did certainly look battered but his kayfabe injuries would totally make him immobile and especially doing the things he was doing. Strowman destroyed Reigns by the end and even continued beating on him afterwards. Ending with Reigns spitting up blood. Reigns and Strowman have a really good chemistry with one another as both their matches so far have been good and their storyline of not liking one another is believable. The aftershow knocked the wind out of the match with Braun looking like a buffoon but the actual match was good between them

WWE Payback Score: “B”

The event moved along at a good pace with little to no filler. The House of Horrs match messed up the flow but it didn’t take away too much. There also was little to no “wow” moments but that didn’t hurt it from being entertaining on a solid level.

Enzo and Cass Moving To Smackdown Was A Missed Opportunity

I love Enzo and Big Cass. They’re probably the most entertaining duo on WWE programming at the moment. Enzo is great on the mic and Cass is a great big man. When they are together in the ring and using both of their abilities together, I think they are a solid tag team. I’m not a big fan of the whole thing about having Enzo getting beat up just so that he can make the hot tag to Cass who will save the day. Then if the team loses, it is usually Enzo to take the pin. But I do think they are a solid team but ultimately getting buried on Raw.

One of the biggest things about both shows, Raw and Smackdown, is the whole tag team division in both. They both are suffering from various issues. The biggest problem in the Smackdown division is a lack of personality. Other than The Usos and Breezango, I really can’t think of a tag team with personality. American Alpha are great technical wrestlers but what are they about? I have no idea. This seems to have shifted lately with The Colons arriving as well as The New Day on the way. But Smackdown could have really benefited from Enzo and Cass.

hqdefaultEnzo and Cass are extremely over with the crowd. I’m not sure how much their merchandise sells but I’m sure it is a lot. They could have brought a lot to the table on Smackdown. Both teams are really good on the microphone. Trash talking with The Usos would have probably been electric and filled the audience with anticipation towards their matches. This definitely would have given the tag team division on Smackdown a huge personality pop.

But Enzo and Cass are still on Raw and seemingly in limbo. It is unfortunate because they have not had the tag team belts. It was rumored that they were supposed to win at Wrestlemania before The Hardy Boyz officially came back on. There are also rumors about about a breakup between the two was imminent at one point. Cass is a big sweaty man and Vince McMahon loves big sweaty men. But the biggest issue with the two is that they don’t know what to do with them. This is unfortunate as they are just money.

The WWE creative definitely made a mistake by not switching the duo over to Smackdown. But who knows…maybe there will be another shake up some time soon. Either way something needs to happen with them.

Becky Lynch Turning Heel Is A Good Thing

I love Becky Lynch. Absolutely love her. She is one of my favorite wrestlers in the WWE currently. She was the inaugural women’s champion on the Smackdown brand. I will be the first to admit that ever since her feud with Mickie James ended, she has been in something of purgatory. So when it was announced that Charlotte Flair would be joining the brand, all eyes were on Becky Lynch. Her reaction to seeing Charlotte joining was something of elation. These two in real life are best friends. The WWE currently is in something of a mix of real life and kayfabe (aka fiction).

Last week, Becky Lynch was at the stadium where Smackdown was performing but was not on the televised show. Just yesterday she was back on the show where she was confronted by the newly formed alliance of women heels; Natalya, Tamina and Carmella…along with James Ellsworth. They basically issued the statement that if you’re not with us then you’re against us. Becky didn’t really give an answer to the invitation. Later on Talking Smack she did refer to the group as the New Wench Order aka NwO.

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During the title match between Naomi and Charlotte, this group attacked both competitors with most of their focus being on Charlotte. The crowd even started chanting, “We want Becky” but Becky was not there. When this was brought up during Talking Smack, she basically said to the effect that she feels Charlotte should fight her own battles and was tired of being the one that gets jumped. All the ingredients are there to turn Becky heel and now it is seemingly becoming a matter of when.

I do not think that her name dropping NwO was just something random to say. The biggest thing about the NwO was the babyface Hulk Hogan turning heel to lead the faction. I highly doubt that they will be calling themselves the New Wench Order as that sounds just dumb. But Becky turning on Charlotte and becoming the top heel of the women’s division makes a lot of sense. Charlotte was the top heel on the Raw division for some time so her coming to Smackdown and doing that same thing again would just be a feeling of “same old, same old”. It is also a way to get Charlotte out of the title picture for a while.

Becky Lynch turning heel would be an interesting turn of events. But with Alexa Bliss gone, the show does need a top woman heel. She would probably fall in the line of Kevin Owens or AJ Styles type of heel where she will still be getting cheered no matter what. But it would be a shot in the arm for the women’s division which is hot right now. As I said earlier, it only looks to be a matter of time.