I really want to go into Stomping Grounds with a clear head and open outlook on the show. Some of the matches should be great, but that doesn’t mean that the WWE shouldn’t be called out for the horrific build toward this PPV. I understand that they feel they need to put so much build into the Saudi Arabian shows, but in the process at least two PPVs a year now go down the toilet because of this political mess McMahon got the WWE into.
Spidey Is Pinned
What a great match, and one that looked great from bell to bell. It was strange to see Gulak go up top, almost as strange as it was to see Neese make a hash of bouncing his own head off announce. The first was interesting, the second downright pathetic looking. I’m not sure if Tozawa was supposed to fall off the apron while working with Neese, but he bounced back all over Neese.
Those little issues aside, these three looked like they were at the top of their game and worked as if they were in the main event of the PPV, not on the Kick Off for the actual show. That’s one thing about this Cruiserweight Division: they leave it all out there no matter how many fans are watch and who might be cheering and should get so much more love and appreciation than they’ve gotten since the division first returned to the WWE. With matches like this one, the more casual fans should sit up and take notice, but without any background or character building for them, they don’t care about these superstars. That is where the WWE has dropped the ball, and it hurts that much more knowing that they have that extra time on Raw that could be filled with the Cruiserweight Division and great matches. I continue to shake my head over the things the WWE really drops the ball with and seem to have such obvious answers right in front of us all.
I love that Gulak won the Cruiserweight Championship! I’ve loved him from word go and really expect this reign to be very interesting. I’ll admit that I’ve been lazy about tuning in to watch 205 Live, but Gulak as Cruiserweight Champion is something that could motivate me.
Still The Man!
I have to say I was a bit worried about this match, but it was better than I expected. Becky is always great in the ring, but she’s not one who can make her opponent look stellar even if they’re not. I think I just found her one weakness! Anyway, Lacey looked a lot better in the ring here and really made the match enjoyable to watch; more enjoyable than I expected it to be. They both worked it hard and left it all out there for the fans who responded in kind. I was impressed at how hot the fans were starting this show after absolutely no build. I know they are in Bryan’s hometown and are usually a decently hot crowd, but surprised me for being so hot from the start of the show when they really didn’t seem to care about the Cruiserweight Division match that started the night.
Corbin’s Locker Room?
I love Heyman and how he handles the backstage interviewers. He’s so crass and abrupt, but he’s Heyman and it works! Then there’s Mr. TGIFridays who was really great at this moment. I think if they changed up his character a bit, evolve his character in some intelligent way, and get him out of the black jeans, shirt, and vest, he could get past some of the X-Pac heat some claim he’s getting. Personally I think Corbin is doing a great job of it, his character and look have just become stale. It wouldn’t take much to evolve Corbin a bit and make him fresher and not as stuck in a rut, which he’s been since joining Raw.
KO And Sami Seal Dolph’s Fate
I loved the work between these four. They always all work as hard as possible for the fans, then give that much more for PPVs, and even more for big four, though this was barely more than an afterthought of a show. KO and Sami really need to be separated so that Sami doesn’t stay in KO’s shadow, though their chemistry in the ring is superb. Some people say the same about New Day, that it’s time for them to split, and I have to disagree. There is no reason to break up a faction because one of them is WWE Champion, and it finally seems (after tons of rumors and worried nights) as though they are not going to break up New Day just because. Whether these groups should be split or not, all four went out there and gave their all as if they were fighting for the WWE or Universal Championship, and isn’t that the most we can ask of them?
I so love this relationship! The thing I keep seeing is the woman within the Bliss character sneaking out a bit. She’s a great heel, but her eyes sparkle a bit too much when she and Nikki are being chummy. Most of the time she stays in character well, but at the end there Bliss’ eyes were sparkling when she looked at Nikki. It snuck out and was great to see watch Bliss’ 365, you won’t be sorry). We all know that the young woman who plays Bliss is a great human being in many ways, and I like that sometimes she cannot always hide behind the mean girl. Their chemistry is great and I hope it carries over when they split and feud, which these two have to do, but not before they’ve really explored their friendship as much as they can. This is one they shouldn’t rush, though I worry that’s exactly what McMahon will do. Hopefully it won’t happen before SummerSlam.
And Your NEW US Champion…
How did Ricochet get out of Joe’s Cochina clutch? This match was so much fun, but the ending is what touched me. The way Ricochet reacted when the strap landed in his hands was one of THOSE moments. It’s not the Universal Championship, but it’s a big step in the right direction and a great leap for Ricochet’s career in the WWE. He’s so deserving and will do a great job with that around his waist. I addressed my feelings about Joe losing the strap in my predicts, but what it comes down to is that Joe isn’t a huge monster, which McMahon loves, but also isn’t a cruiserweight, though he can work with them better than most. Lastly Joe isn’t as young as he used to be. I wish he’d been able to come to the WWE earlier, though they didn’t really want him earlier. I just don’t see Joe making it big in the WWE with the young roster being so deep. It sucks for Joe, but it is what it is.
Captain Bryan And His Rowan Planeteer
Otis steals almost every show he’s on, though he got heat in this match for tossing Bryan off like he’s nothing. Even his caterpillar got a bit of heat because Bryan is the hometown boy. I wondered if he might be screwed over by the hometown curse, but the fans were so loving on him. I feel a bit bad for Heavy Machinery as it’s hard to catch heat when you’re the faces of the match, but they plugged along and Otis looked great out there. I’m sure Tucker was there too, but I don’t remember seeing him at all. That’s not good for a superstar, but he’s so not memorable! I wasn’t shocked that Bryan and Rowan retained as they have so much more to do with those belts together.
Bliss Still Loves Nikki?
Bliss looked amazing going out there. Her vest, or sleeveless coat, with all that tulle on the bottom made me smile. I love all the bling and sparkle, and should make something wild for myself as these extra pieces some of these superstars are wearing to the ring, over their ring gear, so inspire me to sew! Then out comes Bayley in possibly the ugliest ‘coat’ I’ve seen her wear to the ring! It’s a bit eye-boggling as both are in blue and pink in the ring, but they are so different looking that there isn’t an issue.
I have to admit that I’m more surprised that Bliss didn’t turn on Nikki for costing her the match, but that just means there will be more of this to come. I’m excited to see what’s next, and I hope it’s a decent feud with the payoff of Bliss versus Nikki after she gets the strap of Bayley. Sadly Bayley is the weak link in all of this, even in this match. Normally her ring work holds up, but I’m really not thrilled with much of anything she’s doing lately.
I’m so excited for Ricochet versus AJ Styles! That could be an epic feud for the US Championship. It could be great even if AJ was to stay face, but since he’s been running with The Good Brothers I’m hoping that they will re-form The Bullet Club in some way. Even better if they get Balor to join them. I’ve been screaming for factions of any sort, and this is a great faction. Not only are they great, but they’re a proven faction who all work really well together, or, they did, in another company.
This Match Happened
I really wish this match was so much more memorable than it was. I adore McIntyre and while I don’t like him coming off as Shane’s lackey, it really is helping his career. Only those who are really believed in get to run with The Authority for longer than a week, so I expect great things from McIntyre and Elias, but I doubt they will reach their true potential while with Shane. Usually someone is huge running with The Authority (being any of Steph, Trip, McMahon, Shane, or any combination thereof), or they huge after they turn away from The Authority and feud with them. McIntyre is already big in that he’s running with Shane and feuding with Reigns, but that will only carry him so far, and I worry that he doesn’t have much further with Shane unless something changes. Maybe the IC Championship is something McIntyre needs to move forward? As the brand split really means nothing right now, it really doesn’t matter who is on which show and who holds which straps. So strap McIntyre!
Technical Cage Match?
From the man who has made his niche in the WWE as the one who can avoid landing his two feet on the floor to the man willing to dive out of the ring over Ziggler to do just that and retain his WWE Championship. I love Kofi!
There has been a lot of crankiness backstage over this match. Some think it was terrible and boring because they barely used the cage at all. The rest of us found it refreshing that they used the cage to keep people out, though no one tried to get involved, and put on a great match regardless of the cage. One of the WR found it boring that they were on the mat and only climbed once. On the other hand, their technical work was great and something you never see in a cage match. They told a great story in there and didn’t put themselves in terrible spots that could injure either or both of them. I love how different and refreshing this was for a cage match, but the best part was the ending. Most of the time we feel like we have seen it all as we have been watching the majority of our lives and have seen more cage matches – for better or for worse – than we can count off the tops of our heads, but we have never seen an escape and win like the one Kofi and Ziggler gave us at Stomping Grounds. I was blown away by the ending of this match. I marked out in a huge way and was left with a huge smile on my face.
Hit Who With A Chair?
I really enjoyed this match but was also annoyed by the typical heel ref tricks. There was so much talk about who would be the ref for this match and someone said something about how Rollins wouldn’t hit Becky with a chair. First off, there’s no way Corbin would pick Rollins’ girlfriend to be the ref, but I do think that if McMahon asked Rollins to hit Becky with a chair, he’d do it and she’d be as pissed as Mae Young if he tried to get out of it the way Bubba Ray tried to get out of throwing Mae down a flight of stairs. Personally I don’t think McMahon would ask Rollins to hit Becky with a chair, not because of domestic abuse, but because of abuse of a woman in general. All of the women on the roster should be able to take chair shots as none of them are shrinking violets, but that doesn’t mean they should take chair shots from guys like Lars Sullivan or Bobby Lashley. Anyway, I really think Lacey as ref made a lot of sense and worked really well. This will lead to more matches between the four, and hopefully some matches where all four of them can show their best and would give Corbin a great excuse to change up his look. Maybe something a bit more dapper to go with Lacey?
The entire match wasn’t five stars, but the three in the ring told a great story and Becky came out to make the story even more exciting and level the playing ring. I know it was the booking, but I’m shocked Becky let things go on that long. Someone is screwing over my Stacy the last thing I do is sit back and watch, but she held back until she couldn’t handle it any longer and it was perfect!
While the build to this show was downright horrid, the matches were mostly great. I know some are the same match, or similar, as they worked in Saudi Arabia, but as most of us boycott all the Saudi shows, we didn’t see what happened there. That all these superstars went out there and gave us such a great show coming off no build and terrible ticket sales really means a lot to me as such a hardcore fan. This was a really solid PPV that came out of nowhere, and sometimes those end up being the best shows because they are so unexpected. I don’t want to see builds that bad again, but I think we all know that it will happen again in six months when they go back to Saudi Arabia.