Unexpected Gem

Sometimes I question the panel during the Kick-Off show. I really don’t like Sam Roberts, and I haven’t from the start. Charly has grown so much recently that I’m shocked it’s the same woman. Beth has also grown by leaps and bounds on mic and the panel is a better spot for her than announce. The worst part is that I couldn’t tell you who was between Beth and Charly after their first segment. Oh, it was Coach! (Writing this as the show airs, as I always try to do.) They could have done without Coach, but I’m not at all impressed with him since his return.

 

Change For A Great Reason

It completely pissed me off that this match was on the Kick Off to Extreme Rules. This match should have been on the actual PPV, not the Kick Off. It was a kick to the teeth of both of these great wrestlers, but then to make it split-screen and show us something else during this really solid match was total bull.

Balor showed some serious attitude in this match with Nakamura. I always expect attitude from Nakamura, but Balor out-attitude’d Nakamura from the start of this match. It makes me wonder if he’s slowly showing more attitude so that he can get nastier and join Styles and The Good Brothers to really re-form The Bullet Club.

Nakamura wasn’t there to catch Balor at all when he flipped over the top rope to the outside. Balor’s fall was barely broken by Nakamura before he landed on his bum next to Nakamura. I expect more from Nakamura. I say that and Nakamura ends up winning the match. It’s obvious to move Balor over to Raw to lead The Bullet Club to greatness in the WWE, and I’m thrilled. Factions, I’ve been begging for factions, and it looks as though they’re bringing back one of the best from the past decade. Hopefully Heyman does great things with them.

 

Gave Their All

I love both Gulak and Neese, and they left it all out there the way they always do. It kills me that they so rarely get the love they deserve from the fans live in the arena, and whoever feels the need to go split-screen and advertise the Old Man, I mean Deadman. None of the superstars on the roster deserve that.

The way we’ve been hating on the diving out of the ring, I need to add backward throw into the corner. I think it’s a dangerous thing to do to one’s neck. I know they know what they are doing, but like flying out of the ring, things can go really wrong even if you do everything right. It’s one of those things that really bothers me.

I’m really happy Gulak retained the strap here. I adore Tony Neese, but Gulak has only held the strap for a brief time and deserves to have some solid time to prove himself as Cruiserweight Champion. He’s shown really well as CW Champ so far.

 

GONG!

I’ve caught crap through the years for saying certain superstars should hang up their boots, specifically Flair when he was working the ring through Evolution and after, then in TNA. I was told over and over that I should never state that anyone should leave their job because of their age. Now the majority of fans are calling for Taker to retire and it’s fine. I have to admit that it really annoys me that there is this reaction from people, you can’t have it both ways! (Sorry, rant over.)

You still got it!” chants for Taker has to be from those who have always wanted to see him live, no matter how old and not ring-worthy he is. I will say Taker looked better working this match early on than I expected, but much slower and more careful than ever.

I have to admit I’m totally shocked at the amount of time Taker spent in the ring here. I thought Reigns would work most of the match and Taker would take the three, and while Taker did take the three on Shane – couldn’t have been on McIntyre – he worked that match hard and looked better than I thought he did a few years ago. He really shocked me here. I do have to mention that there was a LOT of padding on the table he went through, but I have very little issue with that. I’d rather they take care of the Deadman if he truly felt he needed to be out there.

I love that Elias came out and got involved as he did. While some of that work with Taker, McIntyre, and Elias outside the ring was a bit sloppy, I’d rather have sloppy than things looking too polished. Grit is a good thing, especially in Philly.

 

The Man Isn’t Romantic

I love this segment with Becky and Seth going back and forth about what they saw as they walked through Philly. Goes back to the best teams and foes are those who are besties, and I think this relationship counts in a way. They were spot on and left me smiling. I’m still smiling as I write this.

 

Revive This!

Every time I see someone wearing sweatpants with the drawstrings hanging out I just want to pants them. I think it has something to do with being in middle school in the 80s when that was more of a thing and less of sexual harassment, but it’s all I could think of when the Usos came to the ring.

I loved Revival using the old school heel tactics to keep the match rolling. They really are a throwback team, and yet they work. When they came up to the main roster I wasn’t sure how they would fit in. At first they didn’t, but they are finally gaining some steam and looking great doing it. Their ring work with the Usos is always great, but this match was even better than what we’ve already seen from them.

 

Fade To

When Black started asking for someone to pick a fight with him many said it should be Orton, but I said it should be someone younger and more interesting. So many argued with me on that, but look how much better this is than if Black was stuck dealing with, and ultimately buried by Orton because Orton wouldn’t agree to let Black go over in the end and we would have another great superstar trashed by Orton. That list is too long for Orton to work with any young superstars.

I knew that this match would be full of amazing strength and unique moves as that’s what these two are great at. They went all out in their first facing, which I expected for SDLive, but even better at a PPV in Philly. This was the first step of something that I know will grow into something that leaves us in awe until they blow off, which shouldn’t happen for months and months. This was lovely, but I know there is so much more to come!

 

Backstage Height Differences!

R-Truth is great, he’s made everything to do with the 24/7 downright amazing! I love Bliss and Nikki together and I have no clue where this is going – who will turn on who – but seeing their short little selves with Street Profits left my jaw on my knee. I forget how short those young ladies are. Then there’s how crazy Nikki is. I know Street Profits are good, but Nikki stole that segment.

 

Bayley Retains?

Bayley had a serious hair blowout in this match! Sad that that’s the thing that was most obvious to me about Bayley in this match. Yes, she looked really strong working against both Bliss and Nikki and that submission on both was great, but I cannot get past how boring Bayley is when she’s not throwing her best moves in the ring. I found it interesting how both women really worked Bayley, and it wasn’t just Nikki. I didn’t find it interesting when Bayley retained the strap. Bayley isn’t a good SD Women’s Champion and should have dropped to let the relationship develop further between Nikki and Bliss.

 

Last Monster Standing

I honestly didn’t care about this match. I love Strowman, but I’ve been over Lashley since before he left the WWE previously and thought he was terrible in TNA. That being said, this is everything a Last Man Standing Match should be, and they deserved the “This is awesome!” and “Holy $h!t!” and “ECW!” chants. I might never get over Lashley’s lack of personality, inability to talk, and that fact that he LOOKS like he’s all juiced up (that soft curve of his muscles is usually the water weight of steroids floating over and around the muscles), but he actually impressed me in how he worked this match. Both of these men left everything they had in that arena and brought their stock up in a huge way. It’s time for their pushes to really happen – yes, both! Well, as long as Lashley has a mouthpiece to get him through it all.

This was a bright and shining light that I didn’t expect to be worth my time to predict or write about here, but it was an epic match with a more epic ending and anyone who hasn’t seen it needs to go watch it right now. This PPV just gets better and better match by match. Impressive how the WWE has done that lately!

 

Planet Machinery Day

That opening chain wrestling between Bryan and Woods was inspired in a way only the littler guys can work. It was so much fun to watch as they are the smallest in the match by quite a bit. Then it was over and it became a power match. Then it became a humorous power match. I love watching and listening to Otis in the ring. I love Heavy Machinery’s finisher, but there was no way they were winning the straps yet. I write that and they hit another team move that looked really impressive for how long Otis held Big E upside-down and how graceful Tucker looked coming off the top! I’m in awe of how graceful Tucker looked, and then he flew off the top and out. It wasn’t as graceful, but did earn the “This is awesome!” chant Philly so loves.

Watching Heavy Machinery work Rowan was also a lot of fun. They really ran the middle of this match and looked more ready for the straps than I thought they were, even Tucker. I feel bad saying that, but I haven’t been at all impressed with Tucker.

Speaking of awe, Big E’s superplex on Rowan was another epic move! This match was more exciting than I thought it would be coming off the Last Man Standing Match. Usually we need a bit of a breather after a match like that, but they’re just piling it on. Hopefully the fans are not worn out before Becky and Seth.

I’ll admit I’m a bit shocked that New Day won the SD Tag Team Championship and hope that doesn’t mean that Kofi is going to drop his strap tonight. Nothing against Joe, but Kofi has so much more to give us as WWE Champion!

 

I love Heyman!

That man can throw a promo like few others. Also, he had to go out and do something because they are in Philly and that’s ECW country! He didn’t disappoint and was great in leaving us wondering if Brock Lesnar was there or if he was just being Paul Heyman! Love that man!

 

The Club Is One

I have to admit I expected more from this match, but after the matches before this, the fans needed something a bit less insane. Not saying it wasn’t a great match, it was, just not the show stealer I thought it was going to be from the opening bell.

Ricochet is really great at being floppy in the ring. HBK was great at it, as has been numerous others, with Ricochet being the latest in a long line of floppy sellers. He’s fun to watch when he’s hitting the moves and taking the bumps. Watching this match I’m kicking myself for missing one of his last indie dates which was in Portland, Maine. My daughter Ellie saw him live, and after his match and after a quick shower he came out and sat next to her to watch the rest of the show! Kicking myself in a HUGE way!

I really thought that The Bullet Club should not win until Balor joined them. I cannot say why I wanted that, but I really thought bringing the whole group together would be needed for them to succeed, but it’s what I’d hoped for so that Ricochet could retain for a bit longer.

 

Squash!

I have to say that Ziggler’s career in the WWE is nothing at this point. Being taken out at a PPV the way he did means no one in the back cares what happens to him. Honestly I’d have rather just listened to KO rant on mic, saying what we feel, raging as the edgiest of faces, and giving the fans what they want to hear. KO really is saying all the right things and under the tutelage of Heyman and Bischoff the sky is the limit. I can see both of them wanting to push KO back to the top as this version of himself – after he gets through Shane. The grade is more for the mic work than the match that was absolutely nothing.

 

That Knee!

Unless something else huge happens in this match, I’ll be having nightmares about the slo-mo of Joe taking out Kofi’s knee. I dislocated my knee in a most horrible way when I was eleven and then broke a couple of chunks of bone off that same kneecap when I was twenty-one. I was told I’d have about five years until I’d need that knee replaced. That was twenty-five years ago because I’ve been so careful with it, and because I focus on other body parts that are in worse shape. I know I’ll have nightmares at least tonight if not all week over that one.

I have to admit I was wondering how Kofi would be going over Joe. I mean, Joe is a scary man, but really watching this match closely I realized that not only has Joe put on the weight he’d lost before coming into the WWE but is possibly heavier than he was in TNA. When Joe landed on his back at one point he looked like a flipped turtle and it wasn’t a good look. I know Joe is always sweaty, but he looked heavier and sweatier than ever. I know that age and being on the road isn’t great for the weight, and I hope he gets a handle on it as he’s really not looking healthy right now.

 

Kill Bill, Lacey, And Corbin

I almost wanted Corbin to have Becky’s name on his chest or bum, but that would be considered sexual harassment in some way. On the other hand, I love that Rollins changed his ring gear to match Lynch.

The use of weapons fairly early in the match was great. The kendo stick on Lacey and Corbin stopping Rollins from flying with a chair. Both interesting and creative, something that can be hard using the same weapons as hundreds before them. Then Becky with that flying chair to the face doesn’t even blink before attacking Lacey. I’m in awe of that woman! Then the abuse from Lacey and while Becky sells, she still comes back fighting as if it’s nothing. I just hope that Becky didn’t hurt her shoulder in that landing.

I need to state that the grade is not for Lacey. If I could it would give Lacey a big fat x-ray skull for her work in this match, even though she did well with the kendo stick and worked over Rollins with it in a huge way, that chair killed it for me.

On the other hand, I give Corbin huge props for taking Becky out the way he did. She is truly one of the toughest women in the WWE, and while she sold the move really well, I’m sure it was nothing big for her. I love that about her, and I love how her man went completely off the rails because of it. Great storytelling in the match and the way to end it with an exclamation point.

 

Heyman’s Philly

The problem I have with how this went down is that Rollins lost all of that anger and was little more than a dishrag for BL to toss around. He lost all of what he was in the previous match and that’s totally crap storytelling to me. Rollins is far from a dishrag, in the ring and on mic, but he was here and that didn’t sit right with me, especially after how he went OFF on Corbin.

If I’d thought about it I would have realized that this was the show for Brock Lesnar to cash in. Heyman is Philly and while most hardcore wrestling fans (both those who love wrestling in a hardcore way, and those who love the hardcore style of wrestling that ECW truly was – I always feel strange using the phrase hardcore wrestling fan as it could go both ways) know that Heyman is one of the best liars (character-wise) in the industry and in some ways makes Bischoff look like a schoolboy, so he could have been lying, but not in Philly. As I said Heyman is Philly and while they would have understood that Heyman is Heyman, but it’s fantastic that he could give his Philly that moment live.

I’m not going to go off on my BL rant, everyone knows how I feel about him, but I will say that the grade for this match is all for how Rollins went from being as wild and vicious as we have ever seen him to be a dishrag and that is why I graded this the way I did. The man was wild, then didn’t even look like he cared to do anything but take the suplexes and get the whole thing over with. That, to me, shows how little he agreed with what they were doing and went through the motions, something I’ve never seen from Seth Rollins or Tyler Black.

 

Final Glow

It seems like 2019 has been the year of questionable booking, questionable PPV cards that turn into some of the best PPVs of the past couple years. The WWE had really seemed to stop trying when we were only paying $9.99 a month, but the tune has really changed this year and each PPV has left me more and more impressed. I’ll fully admit that if it hadn’t been for the great PPVs I might be as disillusioned by the WWE as Mitch, and these PPVs are only getting better! I’m crushed that I won’t be able to watch SummerSlam live with everyone else and won’t be writing the Afterglow as these WWE PPVs, even with BL as the new Universal Champ, have been keeping me excited for the WWE this year.

Queen KB