Crash Course Wrestling Column Week of 9/4/2017

I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend. Despite the holiday, WWE never stops which means you are in need of a crash course to keep your sanity from all the programming. What shows were watchable and what shows were skippable as we look toward No Mercy and Hell in a Cell? Lets get to it.

Monday Night Raw = Watchable

We are three weeks away from No Mercy which means WWE and Monday Night Raw have a lot of time to fill and matches to build. That being said, No Mercy is looking to be a stacked card and more development happened this week. The show starts off with Jason Jordan vs. John Cena. The story here was that John Cena got his start coming in as a rookie and beating Kurt Angle. Can Jason Jordan do the same? No. Cena wins with an Attitude Adjustment. This prompts Reigns to come out and reiterate the fact that he believes John Cena buries young talent. The yahve an exchange of words, not quite as good as last week, but helped the build of the match for sure.

The first hour of Raw had a heavy focus on the John Cena vs. Roman Reigns match at No Mercy and that is not a bad thing. WWE continues to make this match feel Wrestlemania caliber on a show that is viewed as a “B” Pay-Per-View. The 9 o’clock spot saw Jeff Hardy vs. The Miz (c) for the Intercontinental Championship. Last week Jeff Hardy won a battle royal for this opportunity and it was strange seeing him as a singles competitor in WWE again. This was a great match and the crowd fully believed Hardy could pull this one out. However, after a crash and burn by Jeff Hardy, Miz hit a Skull Crushing Finale for the pinfall victory. Miz retains the Intercontinental Championship.

Continuing the No Mercy storyline progression, Kurt Angle made a Women’s Tag Team Match between Alexa Bliss & Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax & Emma. The caveat here is that if Nia and Emma win, then the Raw Women’s Championship match at No Mercy becomes a Fatal Four Way Match. If they lose, their opportunity is scrapped  and the match stays as Alexa Bliss vs. Sasha Banks. Booker T essentially spoils the finish to this match by constantly talking about how a Fatal Four Way works. Hmm Booker, why do you feel such a need to explain this to us? Anyway, Nia and Emma win and the match at No Mercy changes to Nia Jax vs. Emma vs. Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss (c) for the Raw Women’s Championship at No Mercy.

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The main event was an interesting one and not in a bad way. The shows closes out with Big Show vs. Braun Strowman inside of a Steel Cage. This match was hard hitting and really entertaining. Before the match, WWE shows their ringside technicians “reinforcing the ring”. It was comical to watch as they were essentially just tightening things and then loosening them. It’s like when you go to work and don’t want to do anything, but when your boss comes by you just start doing random things that don’t need to get done. It looked like that. Back to the match, Big Show and Strowman hit some great spots here like a superplex and a top rope elbow from Big Show. Braun Strowman picks up a pinfall victory after after the superplex and a Running Power Slam. After the match, Braun Strowman powerslams Big Show through the cage door. This was an impressive looking spot.

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Smackdown Live = Watchable

What an interesting Smackdown Live this was. It had a bit of an Attitude Era booking feel to it. With some WCW booking mixed in, take that as you will. The show looks like it is going to start off with Carmella and Ellsworth, but they are rudely interrupted by Kevin Owens who wants to the special guest referee in Carmella’s match. Shane McMahon puts the kabosh on this quick and Owens begins belittling Shane. Kevin Owens goes as far as to say Shane’s family would have been better off if he died in that helicopter crash. Shane loses his cool and attacks Owens, this leads to legal trouble later in the show.

Before we get to more details on the legal trouble Shane caused, there was also trouble in the name of love. Carmella had a match with Natalya and during the match Ellsworth slides the Money in the Bank Briefcase in he ring. Carmella gets confused by this action and sends the briefcase back to Ellsworth. This distraction allows Natalya to pick up a victory over Mrs. Money in the Bank. After the match, Carmella breaks it off with Ellsworth. We see more development on this later in the show.

The 9 o’clock spot saw Daniel Bryan on the phone with someone who he keeps calling “sir”. Daniel Bryan comes out to the ring calls out Shane McMahon. Daniel reveals that he was on the phone with Vince McMahon himself. Bryan goes on to say that Kevin Owens plans to sue Shane and the WWE and because Shane is such a hot-head he has no choice but to suspend him. With Shane now suspended, we find out that next week Vince McMahon will be on Smackdown Live.

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Checking back in with Carmella and Ellsworth. Ellsworth pleads to have Carmella back and Carmella is still fuming. She agrees to have him back back this time everything will be “on her terms” She kisses him and then slaps him. Hey James between you and I, get out now. Oh and Carmella get yourself tested, it could be because of Ellsworth or Big Cass, you decide.

The main event was a big one tonight with Shinsuke Nakamura taking on Randy Orton with the winner facing Jinder Mahal at the next Smackdown exclusive Pay-Per-View, Hell in a Cell. This is arguably Shinsuke’s best match since coming to the main roster. There are a lot of great spots here including a reversal from the RKO into an armbar. It was such a smooth transition. Shinsuke picks up the pinfall victory with a Kin Shasha. Oh wait, Corey Graves is on Smackdown Live now, KINNNSHASHHAAAAAA. Nakamura will face Jinder Mahal once again for the WWE Championship at Hell in a Cell.

Looking toward next week, WWE was really hyping that Smackdown Live is in Sin City, Las Vegas next week. On this Sin City edition of Smackdown Live we will not only see the return of Vince McMahon, but also The New Day vs. The Usos for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships in a Sin City Street Fight. Catch all the coverage of Smackdown Live and all other weekly WWE programming (including the Mae Young Classic) right here on BeerSpit: Fresh Content, Great Culture, Served Daily.

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205 Live = Coming Soon

This show was headlined by a huge main event which saw Gran Metalik vs. The Brian Kendrick vs. Tony Nese vs. Cedric Alexander vs. Noam Dar in a Fatal Five Way Elimination Match with the winner facing Neville for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship at No Mercy. More on that in a bit.

The show starts with TJP vs. Ariya Davari. Last week we found out that TJP didn’t have a hurt leg after all, but instead was sharking Rich Swann to avoid their rubber match of their “friendly rivalry”. Swann comes out for this match and sits on the announce table with popcorn. TJP picks up the pinfall victory with a Detonation Kick. Swann and TJP stare each other down after their match setting up a friendly duel for next week, TJP vs. Rich Swann.

I am really starting to like Drew Gulak and his hatred for high flying gimmicks. He comes out and shows the crowd a PowerPoint Presentation on things that would change if he was president of 205 Live. Subtle funny detail here is in the bottom right corner it says “slide 1 of 277”. If you have ever had to sit through a daunting PowerPoint you would understand the agony of the crowd. Tozawa interrupts this and beats Gulak in a match with a Back Senton.

The main event, was a must watch this week. I won’t say much as you just need to watch it. Cedric Alexander is incredible in this match and I would like to see him go for the championship in the near future: