I normally write much of The Afterglow and The Royal Flush as the shows are airing live, but sometimes I come across something that I have to sleep on, and sometimes watch again the next day, before writing everything I need to say. Well, there were a few matches I had to sleep on, and one match I KNEW I couldn’t give an honest review, so I asked Sam to step in and give his honest review. The last thing I want is my personal bias against both wrestlers in a match take away from some really scary work they did in the ring, or, in this case, in a HIAC. Everyone knows how I feel about Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton, so when Sam said he was impressed with how the match unfolded, I knew he was the perfect person to review that match. Please, as always, extend all the kindness and borderline brutality you bring to me each time I review anything, to Sam and his review of that match.
It’s Not A New Day
I love face vs face matches, but when there are six faces involved it’s that much better. More than that, six faces who are all oozing charisma, this match was set to be greatness both in and outside the ring, or, they were until they decided to run the video promo for Ronda vs Bliss in split-screen, rather than focusing on the SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match! That is one of the worst things the WWE can do to their superstars, and it ticks me off that much more, because this match is for gold, so it should be on the actual PPV, not the Kick Off show! These two teams are so over with the fans, yet they’re working the ring to a half-empty arena and having their match ignored for a video recap for a later match. This type of #WWELogic always leaves me scratching my head.
All that being said about how WWE produces a lot of their Kick-Off matches, I was quite impressed with the work in this match. As always they worked it hard in the ring for us, even with so many empty seats in the arena, so I’m surprised they put this match in the Kick Off. They really left it in there for us, but since it was English who didn’t get the win, I’m wondering if there will be more issues within Rusev Day, again. Poor English is always in the wrong place when things go awry for Rusev. It is what it is, and he will be the scapegoat, again. I don’t want to see them break up, as they keep teasing us will happen. As little as I want them broken up, it feels like put up or shut up time for them. It’s always two steps forward, three steps back, and that’s the worst for a team like this, and they don’t deserve it. When management does things like this over and over to certain superstars, we end up with guys like Ziggler and Orton. They can go without issue, but they’re little more than bloated egos without direction, or the fans giving even half a fig about them after all the pushing and pulling back that’s happened over the past fifteen years! So not cool to see Rusev Day getting the same treatment that we know turns wrestling careers into jokes.
Hell In A Red Cell – By S.A.M.
This was one match for Hell in a Cell that I was not looking forward too very much. The build was okay, but I just couldn’t find myself engaged in it very much. I was willing to give this match a shot and it exceeded my expectations and then some. The match kind of started at a slower pace but when it picked it, boy did it pick up. There were plenty of crazy and brutal looking spots in this match. One spot saw Randy suplex Jeff into an upside ladder and that looked like it had to hurt. The most brutal spot had to have been when Randy grabbed a screwdriver from underneath the ring and placed it in Jeff’s earlobe and twisted it around the screwdriver and that had me turning away and covering my eyes. Jeff ended up getting a cut somewhere on his shoulder but that was nothing compared to Randy. Randy was bloodied up on his back by Jeff’s belt, which Randy used on him prior, and a nasty looking cut on his leg. This finish saw Jeff set up two ladders and place Randy on a table and he was planning to do his leapfrog from one ladder over the other but had another idea. He grabbed the top of the cell and began to swing back and forth on it to land and Randy, but he would crash and burn. Randy picked up the win in what I would call one of the best openers of the year for a main roster pay-per-view.
Lynching Of Charlotte
The build to this match has been masterful. I know I’m a broken record, but besties make for the best feuds, and these two are proving that. Further, when the DD goes dead silent, it’s because everyone is so into a match that they lose all thought of typing. That’s how this match started, but then it started feeling a bit off, a bit sloppy (Mat’s word). They both worked hard and sold beautifully, but something that was there from the start was lost and while the fans in attendance were still really into this match, I just wasn’t as into it. Okay, I’ll admit it, I pulled out the hat I’ve been working on and knit a row while watching. No one was talking in the DD and while I’ve not been knitting for very long, I don’t need to watch what I’m doing as long as the row is all knit or all purl.
Oh, it looked bad when Charlotte lost her balance and slammed the back of her neck in the corner, but came back from it pretty well. Actually, both of them worked their bums off and told a great story in there. The ring psychology was really great, and the story was wonderfully told – especially after Becky had her arm raised – but some of the ring work was off. Personally, my favorite moments in this match were where Becky wouldn’t let go of Charlotte’s arm until the ref was about to call for the DQ, and when Becky won the strap. I honestly thought that Becky would win the match, not the strap, so I was taken by surprise when she did win. It was shocking but great, and they both sold their characters in the best way through the whole thing. I cannot wait to see where this is going next!
Carry Ziggler Out!
It made sense to start the match with Ziggler and Rollins. They worked well but didn’t steal the moments they had. It was when McIntyre came in that things got interesting. I was a huge McIntyre hater for a very long time, and I think I was justified during/after his first run in the WWE, but now, I see just how great he could be, but is being held back by Ziggler in a huge way. Ziggler used to have such potential, but now he’s holding back someone else due to the fact that the WWE just never let it happen for him, and now he’s one of the biggest jokes on the roster. I have pushed for Ziggler for so long, but I’m now over it, and bored. Bored, bored, bored, bored, bored by Ziggler!
Then this match took off. As was stated in the DD, this really was an old school tag match. The chemistry, ring psychology, work rate, and flow of this match was delightful. The fans in the arena were on the edge of their seats through it all! I thought Cole was channeling JR through some of the moves and covers, because the vibe of the match, and the entire arena, had him completely in the moment. It was a beautiful thing to see. The near-falls and questionable rule breaking, with all four of these solid wrestlers working every bit of who they are in that match, it will take a lot for any other match on the card to top this one! McIntyre’s kip up was SICK and foretold the end of this match. Honestly, I had been hoping Rollins and Ambrose would win this one, but McIntyre makes his team the best in this match. Ziggler wasn’t bad, at all, but McIntyre’s work with Rollins and Ambrose made this match so great.
Joe’s Gonna Kill You!
After all these years we get to watch AJ vs Joe for the WWE Championship at a WWE PPV. They were talking smack and smiling at each other, in meanish ways, as they were waiting for the announcer to finish. There had to be something in each of them, looking at each other, smiling at just how far they have come, and most of it they’ve done together. No, they haven’t only feuded with each other since the early aughts, but they were both with TNA from very early and grew up in the industry together. From when I first watched, I wondered if we would ever see any of those TNA guys in the WWE. After a few years of watching these two, I knew they should be here, but I never thought they would. This is a magical moment for them, and for those of us who have followed them and their growth through their careers. Sadly, after the last match, the fans didn’t sound anywhere near as into this match as I think I should be.
Much of the match was one-sided, and while technically solid, it was Joe’s pace, and it felt laggy and boring. I went back to my knitting as everyone in the DD seemed enthralled with the match, or more so than I was. When AJ started mounting an offense and the two went back and forth, that’s when this match really got good. As powerful as Joe is, I don’t buy him all over AJ without any offense, so when the real back and forth started, I really started feeling it. That last third of the match was great, and the ending is what sealed the deal for me. This wasn’t a clean ending, even though it appeared to be. It was a screwy mess leading to more between these two amazing wrestlers, exactly as it should be!
Divas Run Wild!
Yes, I went there! I know this is a feud they want to stretch out and entertain us with as many aspects as possible, and bringing the wrestling wives in seems like a natural. Or, it would seem like a natural if they were wrestlers and not Divas! This match frustrated me to no end. I am loving this Miz/Bryan feud, or, I was until this match. As I said, I get why they did it, but they should have kept the wives to run-ins and outside the ring cheating because putting them in the ring is not a smart idea. I do want to make one caveat, and that’s how impressed I am with Brie and Maryse for getting back into the ring after giving birth, especially Maryse as she gave birth less than eight months ago. Both have more curves and look more womanly, in the way a woman usually does after giving birth, and both are absolutely beautiful. I have no issue seeing them dressed in ring gear helping out their husbands, but neither are great in the ring right now, and it shows.
Help The Ronda!
Why can’t they get Ronda’s foundation right for PPVs? She looks so much better on Raw than she ever does on the PPVs, and it makes no sense. Actually, since I’m going there, I think Mickie missed the memo. Bliss, Foxy, and even Nattie came out all creatively dressed, young, and fresh looking, but Mickie looks like she was called away from her greeter’s stand at the local dance club – in Maine! Ronda wasn’t dressed to the nines, but she was dressed like Ronda, how we expect her to. She doesn’t work the girly girl look like the rest of the women at the ring at this point, but she wears what works for her. Mickie, on the other hand, just doesn’t look like she fits in with the rest, and it makes her look older in the process.
Now, for what we are all here for, seeing how bad Ronda looks in the ring against Bliss, again. I will say that Ronda is really working hard to learn what she needs to get better, especially in her selling. The problem is that I’ve seen her in the octagon, and I just don’t believe it. I cannot suspend my disbelief that little Bliss has the upper hand on Ronda after a few blows to the torso. I don’t believe that abdominal stretch, even though I think it’s great that Bliss has a way of doing an abdominal stretch at her stature. Ronda has the facial expression, but she flops around on the mat like a fish, not at all attractive.
Worst armbar yet, but Bliss tapped out almost before it was completely locked in. this was worse than…wait, the main event is coming, never mind!
HIAC, Except They don’t Climb
There were a lot of great moments in this match, that is until the whole thing fell into over-booked hell! (Only reason I’m using that word is because this is a HIAC match at a HIAC PPV, otherwise, I’ve worked hard to really keep things PG here at WR.) I can, and am, giving Reigns props for his work in this match. I crap on Reigns a lot, but he’s really been very Cena lately, and by that I mean consistent, and that’s not a bad thing. Most of Reigns’ issues are now McMahon’s issues, so I’m going to try to be better about it, about not trashing on Reigns when he gives a great performance, whether heel or face or whatever McMahon thinks he should be at any given time. In saying that, the spear through the table was fantastic!
HIAC, When It All Goes To Hell
Yes, I split this match into two parts, and I did so because Reigns and Strowman deserve the solid grade for the work they did in the ring. This section is for the over-booked schlock the WWE fed us to end the night.
I honestly figured that Jeff Hardy’s fall from hanging in the cell inside was enough and that there was no way there would be any high flying in this main event HIAC, but it was wrong. Having a solid match within the HIAC is exactly what we expected from Braun and Roman. Neither of them is the type to fly, and I’m all good with that, but no, McMahon couldn’t leave well enough alone. I guess now we know why Braun got together with Ziggler and McIntyre round out their little group to feud with the Shield. I really like that idea, what I don’t like is what they did to this main event.
I also have to admit that Brock Lesnar looks a lot better with the beard he’s growing in. It makes him look more like a human being. Further, it’s obvious that he’s training for the UFC because that’s where he really belongs. That he’s training so hard for the UFC and looks the way he looks now further shows me just how little he cares about the WWE, his opponents, or the fans. It’s all about the money, and how he looked here further proved it to me.
So much greatness and so much horror. I know I have come off as really critical lately, but I’m going to call them as I see them. I hope you enjoyed this Afterglow.
Queen KB & S.A.M.