When you’re a fan of fake fights, you tend to circle a few days on the calendar. A big four pay-per-view to start a holiday week, my friends, is one of those days. For the first time since the Royal Rumble, the ‘E actually had a handful of interesting story lines heading toward a PPV. And then… and then, and then and then. A horribly timed concussion (I hate you Nia Jax) and an unexpected decision on Tuesday’s Smackdown Live to put the strap back on the leader of the Yes-Movement, led to a highly-altered card from the one we were prepared for a week ago. Strap in with me as we rate every match from 0-10.
Team Smackdown (The Usos, The New Day, Sanity, Luke Gallos, Karl Anderson and The Colóns) defeats Team Raw (Bobby Roode, Chad Gable, The Revival, The B-Team, Lucha House Party and The Ascension)
There is NOTHING like a PPV starting hot. Remember ‘Mania’s triple threat for the IC title? Kept me watching for 7 bloody hours after because it was so good. This… this was not one of those times. Here is a list of people in this match that I care about:
That is the entire list. #BreakUpTheNewDay
Team RAW (Mickie James, Nia Jax, Bayley, Sasha Banks and Tamina) defeats Team Smackdown (Carmella, Naomi, Sonya Deville, Asuka and Mandy Rose)
To hell with the match. Let’s talk about Nia Jax. Let’s talk about Nia freaking Jax.
The Irresistible Force. The Rock’s cousin. The woman who hurt Alexa Bliss, Nikki Bella (twice) and now the best thing the WWE has going. The loyal fans of the WWE save their real nuclear-style heat for when someone really takes the fans wishes and #2’s on them. When Roman Reigns was booked to retire The Undertaker? Booed half way to Hell and back the next night. The heat Nia (rightfully) got last night, harkened me back to that night. If any up and coming wrestlers are reading this blog, I have a little advice for you:
Do: Learn some moves, be entertaining.
Don’t: Sneeze on Vince, suck all the time, BREAK BECKY LYNCH’S FACE BEFORE THE BIGGEST MATCH OF HER CAREER.
Seth Rollins (Intercontinental Champion) defeats Shinsuke Nakamure (United States Champion)
Being put to sleep by the men’s tag match, and woken up by the chorus of boos to the aforementioned Ms. Jax, I was excited for this match. Both men have the potential to steal any show that they compete on. A little slow out of the gate, both champions hit their stride and showed the world what a couple of #IndieDarlings are capable of. After a back and forth scrap, Rollins hit Nak with a particularly menacing-looking curb stomp and rolled him up. 1-2-3, Rollins beats the King of Strong Style.
AOP (Raw Tag Team Champions) defeats The Bar (Smackdown Tag Team Champions)
A disgruntled ex-employee being ejected from the arena. The hottest young tag team in the company. Piss. This match truly had it all. Nothing special between the ropes, but the AOP rightfully picked up the dub, as to not take any of the shine off of their large, sweaty domes. This match also hilariously featured Enzo Amore, the ex-superstar and accused rapist, removing a disguise and standing on the barricade trying to get on camera, before being forcibly removed.
Yeah, that happened. In 2018. And wasn’t part of the storyline. Not to be outdone on the heinous-bullocks front, Drew Maverick was apparently so scared of the Big Show that he pissed his pants in front of millions of people.
Buddy Murphy defeats Mustafa Ali (retains Cruiserweight Championship)
With urine successfully scrubbed from ringside, it was the high-flyers time to shine. This match was expectedly fantastic, with both men showing out to thank the big brass for a spot on the main card. The highlight of this one for me was this beauty of the announce table from Mustafa:
A Murphy’s Law ended this one, (kind of) out of nowhere and Murphy retained his big, shinny belt. More cruiserweights on the main card, please @VinceMcMahon.
Team Raw (Bobby Lashley, Drew McIntyre, Dolph Ziggler, Finn Balor and Braun Stroman) defeats Team Smackdown (The Miz, Shane McMahon, Rey Mysterio, Samoa Joe and Jeff Hardy)
Another win for Raw in this one, and it’s at this point of the show where fans started to lock in on the fact that Raw had not lost a match on the main card. With only Rousey and Lesnar left for the red-brand, ears were perking up to see if one of these two mega-stars would “do the honors” (more on this soon). As for this match? MEH. MEH forever. Shane is bad. Samoa Joe feels useless right now, and ’18 Bobby Lashley needs to watch ’09 Bobby Lashley highlights to see if he can salvage any of his latest run with the company. I said “finally” out loud when this match ended. I was by myself.
Ronda Rousey (RAW Women’s champion) defeats Charlotte Flair, via DQ
The women’s evolution in the WWE has been a wild success, and there may be no better example of that than Becky Lynch. Endearing, tough and can wrestle her tail off, she’s already being called “the Female Stone-Cold” (lofty praise, that). So with her slated to face the biggest “real-deal” in the company’s history, fans were ready for a women’s main event between Ronda and “The Man”. That is until the bane of my existence, Nia Jax, broke Becky’s face on Raw with a punch, leaving the Irishwoman looking, legitimately, like this:
Do you know how bad at wrestling you have to be to break someone’s face with a punch by accident? I digress. What we did get, was an excellent few minutes between Charlotte and Ronda. That is.. THAT IS.. until Charlotte went absolutely mental with a kendo stick and pummeled the former UFC champion. Add in the always-tough-to-watch chair on the neck trick, and you were left with a battered Raw women’s champion. I’m interested to see where they go from here. Let’s hope they aren’t dumb enough to want people to feel bad for Ronda – we won’t.
Main Event: Brock Lesnar (WWE Universal Champion) defeats Daniel Bryan (WWE Champion)
I don’t like the way Brock (one of my all-time favorite wrestlers, fighters, humans) has been booked in the last couple of years. A truly great worker once upon a time, the company obviously felt like it was better for business to book him as the slow-walk-around-and-dominate-people-kind-of-guy, like a rich man’s Big Show. This was the plan against D-Bry as well, as Brock moved like a glacier on melatonin for most of this one. (An aside: people were none to pleased that Bryan was taking Brock’s German, with his history of head injuries. However, Bryan seems smart enough, and talented enough, to protect himself, and Brock isn’t reckless like that total W.O.A.T. Nia Jax). Anyways, Bryan was able to build a rally, including a handful of nice running knees and a Yes-Lock which I actually thought would get The Beast to tap. It was to no avail, as Brock hit an F5 and waltzed out of The House That Kobe Built, ever the unstoppable force.
All in all, this was an enjoyable show. An all-timer? Nope. But certainly fitting of its Big 4 status, and should be looked at as a success. We have a few more PPVs to go before the Road to WrestleMania hoopla commences. Let’s hope that Vinnie-Mac and co. keep our interests peaked, and don’t do something dumb. And please rest up, Becky. We miss you already.