A PPV that most of the WWE Universe didn’t care about and one that is filled with re-matches from just two weeks ago; WWE brought us the debut of ‘Stomping Grounds’.
WWE Crusierweight Championship Match- Tony Nese (c) vs Drew Gulak vs Akira Tozawa
Result: Drew Gulak wins via pinfall- New Champion Crowned
Thoughts: We, as a fans, again sit here wondering why, in a show that many aren’t looking forward to, the Cruiserweight’s can’t showcase their abilities on the main card? When Vince and Co query why 205 Live isn’t succeeding, it is match like this that will answer his question. Three ridiculously talented guys, putting their bodies on the line to impress an audience but just bumped onto the kick-off, with other matches being hyped and taking up more of the screen and the entire brand being presented as ‘less important’ in comparison to the rest of the matches. Drew Gulak winning however is EXACTLY how to get people invested. That match was absolutely incredible and I can’t wait to see what Gulak does as champion. Fantastic start.
WWE Raw Women’s Championship Match- Becky Lynch (c) vs Lacey Evans
Result: Becky Lynch retains via pinfall
Thoughts: This was ok. I’m a huge fan of Evans from a promo and character stance but will happily admit she still has a way to go in the ring. But I’d say this was up there with her best singles match to date on the main roster. Lynch, unfortunately due to the acoustics, could be loudly heard calling spots but it thankfully didn’t massively take away from anything. A typical heel vs face match that had the absolute right result with Lynch retaining.
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens vs Big E and Xavier Woods
Result: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn win via pinfall
Thoughts: A really simple strategy made this match feel special. Owens and Zayn, from the moment the bell rang, ensured that Woods was completely cut off from Big E on the outside. As a result- it meant the roof exploded off the arena when Woods finally got to E. All four men deserve better than they are currently receiving and they continued to showcase it here. I feel that Owens and Zayn winning here is absolutely the right decision. Those two men have incredible chemistry and I hope they remain a team for at least the next couple of months.
WWE United States Championship Match- Samoa Joe (c) vs Ricochet
Result: Ricochet wins via pinfall- New Champion Crowned
Thoughts: A match that many expected to be Match of the Night and it absolutely delivered. Both men felt like they were actually trying to batter the life out of each other as every single shot was ridiculously brutal. Joe’s game-plan worked fantastically- trying to ground his opponent and brutalise him. However- Ricochet’s high-flying abilities was revealed to be too much for the Samoan Destroyer. Ricochet getting the win was a fantastic moment for him and the embrace with Triple H after it made it all the sweeter. Another great match and I can’t wait to see what happens with Ricochet going forward.
WWE Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship Match- Daniel Bryan and Rowan (c) vs Heavy Machinery
Result: Bryan and Rowan retain via pinfall
Thoughts: This was great as well! What is this PPV?! With the PPV taking place in Washington, Daniel Bryan and Rowan received the pop of the night and essentially worked as faces. Watching Daniel Bryan wrestle with a ridiculously hot crowd for him was almost emotional at points. Otis and Tucker hugely impressed for their first ever PPV appearance- especially having to work as impromptu heels. The decision to keep the belts on the ‘Planet’s Champions’ is, of course, the right one as Bryan and Rowan work ridiculously well together. Bryan winning with another small package continuing that story is another subtle piece of imagery that WWE rarely does but, when executed right, it adds so much to a character. It does however leave a pretty large gap in terms of valid competitors to their championships. We’ll have to see in the coming weeks who will step up.
WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship- Bayley (c) vs Alexa Bliss w/ Nikki Cross in her corner
Result: Bayley retains via pinfall
Thoughts: Unfortunately, the two weakest matches of the night have been the Women’s Championship matches, just because something hasn’t clicked sadly. However that doesn’t mean this was bad by any stretch of the imagination. Bayley showcasing her new aggressive streak is exactly what she needs and adds so much to her character. Alexa and Nikki work incredibly well and I can’t wait to see what is next for them as a tag team. Nikki costing Alexa helps Bliss in terms of looking strong whilst keeping the belt on Bayley. A fun match.
Drew McIntyre vs Roman Reigns
Result: Roman Reigns wins via pinfall
Thoughts: This match was pretty slow. Multiple spots just included headlocks from Drew to Roman that the crowd audibly checked out from. Shane intervening every minute helped maintain his dickhead character but continues to make Drew look worse by association. Drew McIntyre should be able to dismantle any opponent by himself- not with the help of a 50 year old non wrestler. The match did succeed, however, in ensuring the crowd were fully behind Roman Reigns. He got a hero’s reaction when he picked up that win. It will be very interesting to see where both men go from here…as for one, it really doesn’t look good.
WWE Championship Match- Steel Cage- Kofi Kingston (c) vs Dolph Ziggler
Result: Kingston retains via
Thoughts: It’s a genuine surprise that the WWE Title match was the weakest match of this card so far. Much like Drew/Roman prior, this just felt really slow and flat. The crowd were exhausted after nearly 3 hours of really good, high quality wrestling and it didn’t help that many people saw this match less than a month ago. The two men, obviously, work really well together but even with the best will in the world, this wasn’t going to be anything special. The steel cage stipulation very, very rarely works anymore due to over-saturation and this match was no different. Kingston, of course, retained and proved he could get it done without his boys so I guess it worked? The finish was actually really creative- it’s something we haven’t seen before. I really hope people don’t point to this match in order to de-legitimize Kofi’s reign as, up until this point, it’s been great. This however, was not. A real shame.
WWE Universal Championship Match- Seth Rollins (c) vs Baron Corbin w/ Lacey Evans as Special Guest Referee
Result: Seth Rollins retains via pinfall
Thoughts: Right. I really like the Lacey Evans decision. It makes sense logically and works really well. However- I can completely understand the anger that came with the decision. The crowd were expecting something huge but it, on the surface, REALLY falls flat. As a result, the match was instantly pointless. No-one was paying attention, the match was slow anyway and everyone was just waiting for Becky Lynch to come out. This massively dragged as well, why didn’t Becky instantly come out when Evans was revealed to be ref? The added stipulations just continued to ask the question as to why Lynch wasn’t out yet but, she eventually did make the save. A really, really weird end.