Ring of Honor
The six-man tag triple treat main evented the show featuring Los Ingobernables de Japon, Hung Bucks, and SoCal Uncensored. Scorpio Sky ran his high flying spots on point in and out the ring. He was not a huge influence in the outcome of the match as it was his partners’ beefs that came to be the undoing of the match.
Monday Night Raw
Elias continues to name drop Bobby Lashley in his segments like the Game. The drifter decided to re-shoot his documentary with no interruptions before Lashley made an appearance. Bob told Elias to “keep my muthafuckin’ name out yo’ muthafuckin’ mouth or keep yo’ muthafuckin’ mouth shut.” Pulling some nefarious moves, Elias tries to snuff the dominator, but nah, Lashley saw that coming. Then he had the man’s film crew to record as Elias was hoisted up into a vertical suplex and planted in the middle of the ring. So disrespectful; I cannot wait to get a heel Lashley because I don’t recall him ever having a run in WWE.
Apollo Crews pulled the surprise win last week so it was only par for the course that Titus O’Neil get squashed by Rezar this week. I feel this is speeding towards a Summer Slam preshow match. It’s a shame, too. We could get a good post Slam feud if this wasn’t being aired out every single week.
The Boss Hugger Connection returned to prove the naysayers wrong for another week. It was more the same for their match up with the Riott Squat, too. Sasha Banks worked over Liv Morgan before tagging in her partner. She would take the hot tag and the opportunity to pull off more tandem offense as she landed a meteora after a Bayley to belly from the corner. Ruby Riott’s return took Bayley out and somehow “distracted” Sasha long enough to get rolled up by Logan for the pin and win.
The Raw main event saw Alicia Fox giving Rhonda Rousey her chance for payback and first competition on television. Alexa Bliss would give a bit of praise to Fox prior to the match; they’ve been making sure to note her tenure among the women in the division. Fox also had the opportunity to main event a Raw event in her hometown; I know Bayley and Sasha can say the same but not many more women can. The match was all you would figure it to be. There was outside interference, the running of the Fox, and the eventual power game of Rousey. Once Alicia was caught in the ring, it was a wrap and a tap.
Ron Killings is a damn fool. First, he challenged Shinsuke Nakamura for the US Championship by first pinning Carmella. Then, the champ insulted him because it was a ridiculous idea. We get to the ring and immediately are reminded that R. Truth can go in the ring. His antics tend to overshadow that fact. He and Shinsuke flowed pretty well for the time they had with Truth even landing a few signature moves before catching that knee-to-face.
The most over team, the New Day, grabbed the main event spot with Sheamus and Cesaro in the tag team tourney finals. Kofi Kingston would steal the scene when he donned a suit and wig to become a backstage personality. It would be he and Big E doing the honors in the match. The Bar would put them over by giving them all of the physicality they have in their arsenal. Xavier Woods was present but not a factor in the outcome of the match; this has been more common with this stage of the New Day. They may be ringside but hardly ever involved. Back to the powering out of moves, the match would be decided E would maneuver out of a submission to hoist Cesaro up for the midnight hour. The Bludgeon Brothers now await the crew at Summer Slam.
TJP is out of the main event picture for now, and his eyes are back on Noam Dar. The Scottish supernova took to facing Sean Maluta while TJP watched on backstage. Maluta’s mission was to push Dar enough to make it seem as he’s not worthy of challenging TJP. Sean is a week or two removed from having the same mission with Adam Cole on NXT. It just seemed as if they were working him as an unknown competitor when that would likely be true in the case of the casual fans who stuck around following the SmackDown taping. Most watching on the Network and listening to commentary would know Maluta; they did not do much to put him over.
Ricochet’s night was cut short when Adam Cole and the Undisputed Era ask what’s that noise he was talking. The one and only was left in a heap as the lights rose after his entrance. The North American Title is at the center of this rivalry, but with the rest of UE unoccupied for TakeOver, it’s a wonder how much they will influence the outcome.
I smell a face run for Velveteen Dream, even though I hope it’s EC3 who makes the turn, as the two met for a summit of sorts. Dream teased tossing EC3 into the pool several times before catching that fate himself. The moment Velveteen feigned drowning in three feet of water provided the extra layer of corniness to this match that we need.
If you missed it, Keith Lee has been signed by NXT and debuted this week. He’s been around since Mania, but we get our first look at him on the network. Marcel Barthel also debuted in the same match; both men traded blows early in the match. Lee showed his fleet feet getting up off the mat several times. Barthel regained the upper hand about halfway into the match with Lee getting in a few shots here and there. Lee would plant his opponent with some modified version of the attitude adjustment to get his first win.
Poor Vanessa Borne. I can’t recall the last time I saw her pick up a win. She would not qualify for the Mae Young Classic after she fell to Taynara Conti.
XO Lishus returned to tag with Ivelisse in a match facing opponents they both faced in singles competition, Joey Evan and Jack Ryan. XO takes a tag and gets to having fun with Evans, who seemed to enjoy the shenanigans before taking a mean dropkick to the face. By the time Ryan made his way into the ring, it was more the same from the last match up. XO and Ryan traded shots with Ryan using his moments to bring the pain. The lack of familiarity between XO and Ivelisse caused some miscommunication that would eventually lead to Ryan slapping a submission on XO that would cause him to pass out and the ref to call the match. Ryan would continue beyond his partner’s pleas to release until Ivelisse put feet to chest.
I went deep into the vault this week. In Illinois, DJZ would make an appearance to challenge AR Fox. Fox would be accompanied Ayla Fox and the Skulk which led to a rather lengthy delay to the start of the match. The bell rings, and these two get to the action quickly. Fox and Z both displayed high impact, high speed mat offense along with the flippidy flip assault. Mix in some quick strikes, and you have the recipe for the match. Z was the overwhelming fan favorite, but the Skulk ran so much interference that it kept the ebb and flow of the match steady. DJZ would score a roll up counter to win this intense battle.
The Skulk would return to the ring Stokely Hathaway demanded a warm up match under the impression that his partners, Chris Dickinson and Dominic Garrini, would help him quickly dispose of any three men of the group. Tommy Maserati jumped in to represent the Skulk and would get six sets of hands before finding a way to get Adrian Alanis into the ring. Hathaway, at some point, would attempt a people’s elbow that fell flat (pun intended). Good ole, Leon Ruff got into the match with a nice springboard splash. Hathaway’s ginger attempt to fly from the top turnbuckle would buy enough time for Ruff to knock him down and pin Dickinson earning the Skulk a warm up victory.
The Evolve champ, Shane Strickland, teamed with Austin Theory in a main event match versus Saieve Al Sabah and the WWN champ Joey Janela. Strickland and Al Sabah showcased quick hands and feet going counter for counter each step in the match opening. The tide turned many times in this match, and the ladies on the outside would both interfere with the in-ring action as well as get to one another as well. Strickland and Janela also provided some eye popping spots. I can’t recall the same being true for Al Sabah and Theory. Strickland and Theory performed a tandem move that saw the swerve stomp being delivered to Janela just before he was put down for the three count.