**Apologies for the late nature of this. Had some personal things pop up this week. Anyway, I have not watched Raw or Smackdown this week so I do not know what is planned.**
Elias defeats Apollo Crews
Elias connects with the Drift Away to score the fall.
The Miz retains the Intercontinental title, defeating Jason Jordan
Miz takes advantage of a Bo Dallas distraction to connect with the Skull Crushing Finale to retain.
Finn Balor defeats Bray Wyatt in a “Man vs. Man” Match
Balor survives a pre-match attack to connect with a Coup de Grace for the victory.
The Shield (Ambrose & Rollins) retained the Raw Tag Titles defeating The Bar (Sheamus & Cesaro)
Cesaro eats an errant Brogue Kick before catching both Rollins and Ambrose’s finishers.
Alexa Bliss retains her Raw Women’s Title in a 5 way match with Emma, Bayley, Sasha Banks, and Nia Jax.
Bliss takes advantage of a dazed Bayley to score the DDT and the title.
Roman Reigns defeats John Cena
After kick out of finishes galore, Reigns finishes off Cena with one spear.
Enzo Amore captures the WWE Cruiserweight Title, defeating Neville
Enzo field goal kicks Neville’s scrotum into his throat and rolls him up to win the title.
Brock Lesnar retains the Universal Title defeating Braun Strowman
Brock inexplicably walks through Braun’s finisher three times before hitting the F-5 and retaining the title.
I don’t like to get sued so here is the WWE’s official video rundown of the event (courtesy of WWE.com)…
Tonight’s 3 Big Winners
The Cruiserweight Division
I know most people hated the move to put the Cruiserweight Title on Enzo Amore. In the moment, I hated it too. But after thinking about it this week, I think it may be the best move for the division. Let’s face it, the Cruiserweight division has been a mess since its inception a little over a year ago. It really should not be a main roster show. The Cruiserweight Classic worked perfectly in the Full Sail environment, and that’s really where it should have stayed. However, it didn’t and has been treated like an afterthought stuck in a charisma vacuum. Neville helped that some, but without a proper foe to play off of, then his time was only limited there. That’s where I think Enzo is a perfect fit. He is shit in the ring, but the guy can talk. He is essentially the anti-cruiserweight. And making him the big dog that did not necessarily earn it on the 205 brand, I think he can inject some much needed life in a dead division.
I think tonight’s result for the Raw Women’s Championship is a great sign of the plans for Asuka moving forward. I am deeply concerned about how Asuka is going to translate on the main roster. The WWE has a horrid track record with Japanese talent even when they should be a slam dunk (see Shinsuke Nakamura). When I heard that she was going to Raw, I thought that was not a good sign that she would be used correctly, i.e., as the female Brock Lesnar. However, with keeping the title on Alexa Bliss, I think it is an excellent sign that Asuka is going to be elevated quickly and put into that main face role against their top heel immediately. Had Nia Jax won last night, I highly doubt we see a quick ascension for Asuka, and potentially her first loss in challenging Jax.
To say I was not happy with Neville losing the Cruiserweight Title tonight would be a huge understatement. Neville has been a breath of fresh air in a near dead division and really revitalized Neville’s WWE career. He has really come into his own during this “King of the Cruiserweights” run. In fact, he has been so good that I do not believe he should be stuck in the wasteland of the Cruiserweight Division anymore. If the rumor mill and dirt sheets are to be believed, WWE creative agrees. I do not believe that Neville will ever be a WWE Champion; however, there is no reason he cannot be the Smackdown version of the Miz with the United States Championship. He’s super talented in the ring and has really come into his own in regards to his personality. And with Enzo now anchoring the 205 brand, Neville can finally be given that opportunity to shine in a main roster spot.
Tonight’s 3 Big Losers
This is really a head-scratcher for me. The WWE for the first time and over a decade was doing a hell of a job in building someone from scratch. I was there live for the very first night of Braun’s singles run on Raw, and I laughed it off as many did. However, with each following week, I really became enamored with the big man. He finally had the reigns pulled off him in the ring, and has done admirably on the mic. He has a natural charisma about him, and if you do not think he is over, listen to the reaction he got when his music hit tonight. So to do everything right with him, and then to have him lose to your part-time Universal Champion with only one finish, I just do not get it. If that was always going to be the finish, do not have this match. Just have him do something else, anything else. The first time he entered a one on one WWE Title match should have been the first time he became champion. He’s the guy the WWE should put their creative juices behind as the next “main guy,” but for whatever reason, they failed to pull the trigger tonight. Very, very disappointing to me. Braun will be fine, he is a supreme talent, but after tonight’s disappointing result, I really do not know where he goes from here.
I feel bad for Roman Reigns. I think he is a good talent. I think he is more than serviceable in the ring. I do not think he’s horrible on the microphone when he is not overly produced and scripted. I think he has the potential to be a huge anchor for the company for the next several years. However, he was anointed as the next John Cena way too early in his run. They pulled him away from the group that got him over, The Shield, way too soon. One could argue that they should have never split that group up based on where all three of their careers have gone since. And with every heavy-handed attempt to get this guy over, to put him on that throne, the fans just spit it back out at him. The Rock has not been able to get him over as a top face. The Undertaker has not been able to get him over as a top face. And John Cena failed to do so tonight. Instead of forcing the issue, let the guy turn heel. He just oozes heel in his maneurisms and in ring work. I think he would become a mega star. Then you could turn him face, because people would want him to be. Everyone wins, everyone is happy. But that is not the WWE way.
The booking of Bray Wyatt is what really ended my WWE fandom. This guy should have been a slam dunk for the company. With the Undertaker on the way out, there is no reason that Bray Wyatt could not have been slotted as that next mystical force within the WWE. The guy is tremendous on the microphone, maybe one of the best that they have. He is severely underrated in the ring. The characterization is spot on. But his booking has been the drizzling shits. It has just been flat out awful from the beginning. How can you have a cult leader gimmick and not have a pack of followers? They have pulled Harper and Rowan away from him more times than I can count for really no reason other than “why not?” The most offensive piece of his entire run was the 2014 WrestleMania run. He was easily the hottest thing in the company outside of Daniel Bryan at that point. He gets a clean win over Bryan at the Rumble. They make him look viable against Cena throughout their build. Cena takes him seriously for once. They give him the pomp and circumstance during his Mania entrance. And then? Cena wins LOL. I am a Cena fan. I do not have a problem with him and he has earned everything that he has accomplished. But he did not need that victory at Mania. You could have made Bray Wyatt in that moment on the grandest stage of them all, and they just completely screwed him up. He has never been the same since. Now he is nothing more than a gatekeeper for their up and comers and it is really, really sad.
Potential Fallout (And likely completely wrong)
Like I said, I have not seen Raw this week so I really have no clue where this could be heading. I will most likely be wrong on all of these.
The Miz (c) vs. Roman Reigns – Intercontinental Championship
Since the Universal Title continues to be the part-time championship on Raw, the true #1 title on the red brand in the Intercontinental Championship. The Miz has done a remarkable role in that position. I hope he ends up setting the mark for most days as Intercontinental Champion (he’s currently sitting 3rd all time). But I think after tonight, it only makes sense for Reigns to be the one that uncrowns the A-Lister. Survivor Series is around the corner, so I would not be shocked if they did a Miztourage vs. a reunited Shield. I do not hate that idea if that happens (even though I would prefer Balor Club in that slot).
Brock Lesnar (c) vs. Finn Balor – Universal Championship
At some point, Finn Balor should get his rematch for the Universal Title. He lost his title due to an injury, and to my knowledge, never really had a 1 on 1 rematch (please correct me if I am wrong). As long as Brock is champion Balor is not going to regain the Universal Title (sorry, that spot is reserved for Braun, I think), but he should be able to pull Brock through a fairly entertaining match. Hopefully Brock doesn’t legit murder him in the meantime.
Enzo Amore vs. All of the Cruiserweight Division
The only thing that makes sense for Enzo is to go complete heel against the entirety of the Cruiserweight Division. I think it will run very similar to what they had planned for Eva Marie and the women’s division before she was injured and eventually released. He is everything that the cruiserweight division isn’t (both good and bad). And with him Eddy Guerreroing himself through the division, I find that would be the best use of him until they inevitably pair him back with Cass as a heel faction.
This was a very meh pay per view for me. WWE usually does pay per view right. Say whatever you want about their incredibly long Monday programming or bad booking overall, but their match quality on pay per view is usually top notch. However, I just feel like it was lacking tonight. The tag title match really stood out for me, but other than that, everything really just fell flat. I know there are people out there that enjoyed Reigns/Cena, but the finish really put a damper on that for me. The same goes for Braun/Brock. Overall, very average show.
Final Grade: C-
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You can still check out No Mercy on demand on the WWE Network.