Did you miss Raw, SmackDown and NXT this week? Here are the key things to take away from WWE’s week of TV. I would like to just point out that I only deal with what we saw on WWE’s shows this week, so even though arguably the most newsworthy thing in WWE was their new crop of signings, that’s not gonna be covered here.
The Braun Strowman Hour
With no Brock Lesnar or Kane on the show this week after Strowman pulled the Raw set down on top of them last time out, WWE had to find some way of occupying the Monster Among Men. The way they chose to do that was to fire Strowman in the opening segment, have him wreak havoc for an hour, and then have him re-hired. And my god was it awesome. He threw security guards around backstage first, then overturned part of a production truck. Finally he went to throw Michael Cole off the stage, before Angle got to him and told him he was re-hired. Of course, Braun still threw Cole off the stage, taking him off of the rest of the broadcast.
Titus Worldwide 2-0 The Bar
Last week Apollo Crews and Titus O’Neil scored an upset victory over Sheamus & Cesaro. This week the number one contenders to the Raw Tag Team Championships asked for a rematch to prove it was a fluke, but because of a distraction by Jason Jordan Titus Worldwide won for the second time in as many weeks. What’s newsworthy about this is that WWE are trying to establish a new team in the title mix, which probably doesn’t bode well for the current champions’ chances at the Royal Rumble, or the long term future of Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan’s alliance.
The Hall of Fame is Next…
Also on Monday night WWE announced the headline name for the 2018 Hall of Fame and it is none other than Goldberg! The former WCW and Universal Champion made his return to WWE after a 12 year absence in October 2016, resolving the issues on both sides between him and WWE. He was one of the top guys in the Attitude Era, and led WCW’s later ratings victories over WWE in the Monday Night War. Some may argue that he doesn’t warrant a headline spot because his career was relatively short, which I accept as an argument, but as probably WCW’s number one star during one of the hottest periods in the industry ever, his name value is such that he is well worth his spot.
The Curb Stomp is Back
For years Seth Rollins won matches by jumping and slamming the head of his opponent into the mat with his foot. When sold properly, it looked fantastic. But in 2015, with certain connotations of the name “curb stomp” as well as a concussion lawsuit brought against WWE, they stopped Rollins from using the move. It was a controversial move on WWE’s part, as it meant that they couldn’t show the final moment of Rollins’ WWE Championship victory at Wrestlemania 31 – one of the all time great Wrestlemania moments. Howeer this week it returned, as Jason Jordan tripped Finn Balor and Balor was doubled over, Rollins ran the ropes and delivered the Curb Stomp, now re-christened as the Blackout (as it actually was called in NXT). It’s a much better finisher than the short armed-knee strike Rollins has been using, so here’s hoping it’s here to stay.
The United States Championship becomes… Glorious
A few weeks ago SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan announced an eight-man tournament to crown a new US Champion in the wake of Dolph Ziggler’s apparent relinquishing of the title. It was supposed to culminate at the Royal Rumble, but after Bobby Roode won his semi-final match on Tuesday night, Jinder Mahal greeted him from the stage. Roode then challenged Mahal to a fight there and then, and Bryan made the match for later in the show. Roode eventually came out on top, winning his first championship on the WWE main roster, meaning SmackDown’s singles titles are held by two former TNA stalwarts, but most importantly: making the US Championship Glorious.
So NXT felt like a fairly standard show this week, but we did find out two championship matches or TakeOver: Philadelphia, and also what is essentially a number one contender’s match for next week. Shayna Baszler attacked Aaliyah after the Toronto-native lost a match to Lacey Evans, only for Ember Moon to make the save. Moon said enough was enough, and told Baszler to try bullying Moon instead, to which Baszler said she would only go after Moon if the gold was on the line – William Regal later made the match official for TakeOver. The show’s main event saw The Authors of Pain defeat the Street Profits in a contender’s match, earning them a shot at the Undisputed Era’s Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish with tag team gold on the line a week on Sunday. And following on from Velveteen Dream’s comments last week, Johnny Gargano said he’s sick of everyone doubting him, and doubting his credibility, so to silence the doubters he’s put his NXT Title match at TakeOver on the line next week against Dream in what should be a great match.
And there you have it! I have a feeling next week will see a bumper edition of this article what with the Raw 25 celebrations and the go-home shows for Royal Rumble weekend, but all that means for now is that we have a lot to look forward too!