Crash Course Wrestling Column Week Of 6/26/2017

Monday Night Raw = Skippable

We are two weeks from the Great Balls of Fire Pay-Per-View and how did Monday Night Raw help whet our appetite tonight? Well firstly we got a surprise appearance from The Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar. Plus, other shenanigans including a new layer in the Enzo and Cass fallout, a gauntlet match, and racists comments replacing Miz’s bears on Miz TV. Miz should probably stick to the bear guests and steer clear of NBA stars, more on that in a bit.

Monday Night Raw started off hot with a confrontation between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman, but quickly lost steam in the first hour and a half. Roman came out to remind everyone that this was his yard. Through the Boos from the crowd we hear the ambulance backing up noise ring throughout the arena followed shortly by the visual of an ambulance backing into the arena. Roman goes over to it like a curious dog only to be attacked by Strowman, thrown into the side of ambulance, and thrown in the back. Thus showing those who do not know how an ambulance match works, the way in which one of these men must win in 2 weeks.

Lavar Ball and the whole Ball family were guests on Miz TV. Quite honestly I do not know these guys all that well so I had to reach out to a friend to get the low down on this Ball family. The text I received in response was “they are the heels of the NBA world” and man did that shine through quickly in this segment. Lavar Ball came out first followed by his family, acted like a lunatic by jumping around the ring and ripping his shirt off, until the real Lunatic Fringe, Dean Ambrose came out. Lavar’s 15 year old son then dropped two N-bombs and the segment went to an awkward commercial break conclusion. Rumor has it the N-bombs caused anger backstage and no surprise there. I think it is safe to say this will be the last time the Ball family will be seen on Monday Night Raw.

In broken friendship news, Enzo passionately spoke to Cass in the middle of the ring asking Cass to take back his actions from last week so they can be friends again. Enzo mentions that they have never won the Raw Tag Team Championships and they need to be a team in order to do that. Cass says he has never felt more ashamed for his actions than he did last week and the two hug it out. However, in true heel fashion, Big Cass attacks Enzo at the top of the ramp and tosses him down the entrance way. Welcome to the full blown heel world Big Cass.

Brock Lesnar showed up at the 10 o’clock spot to confront Samoa Joe. As Lesnar enters the arena, Joe attacks him from behind and gets him in the Coquina Clutch. Lesnar tries to fight this off by ramming Joe into the LED boards of the entrance ramp, but Joe is able to hold on. Brock begins turning red and fades to the ground showing that Samoa Joe is a serious contender come Great Balls of Fire.

Finally, the main event saw a women’s gauntlet match to determine a #1 contender to face the Raw Women’s Champion, Alexa Bliss, at Great Balls of Fire. Throughout the night the women were grabbing random numbers from a mini-sized Royal Rumble tumbler. Bayley and Nia Jax start off the match and Jax wins with a Samoan Drop which causes a new competitor to come out according to gauntlet rules. Nia Jax squashes Mickie James, Emma, and Dana Brooke, leaving the final competitor, Sasha Banks. Banks and Jax have a ten minute or so match until Sasha locks in a Banks Statement on Nia leading to a tap out victory. This creates Alexa Bliss (c) vs. Sasha Banks for the Raw Women’s Championship at Great Balls of Fire. Also, fun fact, the women are main eventing both Raw and Smackdown this week. I guess that makes up for WWE’s slap in the face for the “historic” first ever Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match. How will WWE slap us in the face next? What controversial guests will Miz have on Miz TV next week? Will the go-home Monday Night Raw get us hyped for Great Balls of Fire? Will Enzo ever forgive Big Cass? All this and more next week right here on BeerSpit: Fresh Content, Great Culture, Served Daily.

 

Smackdown Live = Watchable

We are four weeks away from the WWE Battleground Pay-Per-View and tonight’s Smackdown Live gave us our first glimpse into what to expect from the final Pay-Per-View before Summerslam. Let’s just say if you are into The Great Khali, Punjabi things, and prisons, this is the show for you.

We kick off Smackdown Live with Daniel Bryan reminding us that tonight will be the SECOND EVER Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match, which doesn’t have the same ring to it. Carmella and James Ellesworth interrupt to remind everyone that they disagree with this call for a rematch. Daniel Bryan eventually tells Ellesworth he will be ejected from the arena tonight and security comes to drag him out. Let’s see how well security makes sure he stays out of the arena, spoiler alert these guys need to be fired.

In the Tag Team Division, the Hype Bros got another chance to become #1 Contenders for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships, but came up short. This allowed New Day to come out and challenge the Usos for the titles at Battleground. Hopefully the finish to this one is not The Usos walking away again. In next week is the 4th of July news, Daniel Bryan announced there will be a Independence Day Battle Royal to determine the #1 Contender for Kevin Owen’s United States Championship on next weeks Smackdown Live. The only entrant we know so far is AJ Styles. Also, there was another awesome Fashion Vice segment that needs to be watched.

The 9 o’clock spot saw Lana get a rematch for the Smackdown Women’s Championship against Naomi. This match ended rather quickly after Naomi did a split legged moonsault for the pinfall victory. This burns Lana rematch and makes me wonder what is next for not only Lana, but the Smackdown Women’s Champion Naomi come Battleground.

Randy Orton called out Jinder Mahal, but Shane McMahon came out and tried to calm him down. Shane announced that at Battleground it will be Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship in a match of Jinder’s choosing. Jinder comes out and announces he wants to have a Punjabi Prison Match at Battleground. It has been 10 years since this match was used and if you have never seen one before well lets just say you’re in for a treat…

The main event is worth watching. I would argue it was better than the first Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder match from the Pay-Per-View, the only downside being that this one had commercial breaks. There are a lot of good spots in this match and Tamina looked really strong  to the point where the crowd was getting behind her. Throughout the match Becky Lynch and Carmella kept crossing paths and knocking each other off the ladder. Toward the end of the match Ellesworth comes in, again someone needs to be fired, and climbs the ladder just like he did at the Money in the Bank Pay-Per-View. Although this time Becky Lynch tips the ladder over and crotches him on the top rope. Becky begins to climb only to be interrupted by Carmella who hits Becky with a chair, climbs the ladder, and legitimately wins this time. I don’t want to get on a soap box here, but I do want to make a few points. I’m not sure how smart it is to screw people over on Pay-Per-View and then give away the real finish on free TV. I understand it’s the WWE Network and not a 40 dollar Pay-Per-View, but WWE needs to be careful when pulling things like this because in my opinion this dilutes the Money in the Bank Pay-Per-View and that is a show a lot of hardcore and casual fans look forward to alike.

When will Becky eventually win the Smackdown Women’s Championship only to be cashed in on by Carmella ala Daniel Bryan? Will the Fashion Police ever get to the bottom of their red hot case? Will Lana ever dance on a chair again? Find out the answers to all this and more next week right here on BeerSpit: Fresh Content, Great Culture, Served Daily.

205 Live = Skippable

205 Live this week had some new refreshing elements to it, but as a whole was not a must watch. To start the show we saw a potential new feud between Jack Gallagher and The Brian Kendrick. Kendrick came out dressed as Jack Gallagher to, I guess, shove it in his face that he looks like cartoon character? Kendrick’s words not mine. The Brian Kendrick gets himself disqualified when he hits Jack with William the Umbrella multiple times and then throws a broken piece into the crowd. I get throwing T-shirts, wristbands, and other soft things into the crowd, but I would refrain from throwing splintered pieces of wood into the crowd in the near future Kendrick.

Mustafa Ali and Drew Gulak had another match this week at which I initially groaned at as this is the third time we have seen this match. However, this match had a purpose as the story here was that Gulak went for a high flying Jimmy Snuka splash which essentially lost him the match. Nothing major, but something fun to add to the feud and worth checking out.

The main event segment had Neville coming out to talk about his upcoming match at Great Balls of Fire against Akira Tozawa for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship. This was your generic “Imma gonna win” segment where Akira interrupts and the two brawl. Tozawa stands tall to end the show.

NXT = Watchable

The last few weeks of NXT have been very skippable, but I felt for the first time in a long time they were on a groove for this episode. Not only was this episode exciting, but NXT also set up their next few weeks to be intriguing with an NXT Championship Match (Bobby Roode vs. Rodrick Strong) and in two weeks Heavy Machinery battles The Authors of Pain for the NXT Tag Team Championships.

I digress, lets look at what made this week watchable. There was an advertised match between Onie Lorken and Hideo Itami where right out of the gate Lorkin hits a vicious uppercut on Itami and breaks his nose. The match is called off and a video package hyping Bobby Roode vs. Rodrick Strong for the NXT Championship next week begins. This seemed weird as NXT is a taped show so advertising to the at-home audience a match that would end before it even got started was strange. However, after the video package, Itami comes back out with his nose filled with cotton balls and the match continues. Hideo gets a pinfall victory after a GTS. Great booking here, made Itami look like an absolute monster.

The main event was the bread and butter of this show. For the first time ever, Asuka put her NXT Womens Championship on the line against Nikki Cross in a Last Women Standing Match. This was not only a long match, but had some crazy spots in it including many steel chairs piled on top of each other. At one point Asuka gets powerbombed off the apron to the floor onto a pile of chairs and nails the back of her head on the entrance ramp. Looked vicious, but Asuka got up like a true warrior. The finish was vicious as well as Asuka superplexes Nikki Cross off a ladder through the NXT announce table and the announcers scatter. Both women are down at a 9 count until Asuka staggers to her feet and retains her championship. This is a must see match for the week.