May Young Classic
The first round rolled on with Aeriel Monroe being reintroduced in her match with Zeuxis. Early on, the seemed to miss several spots looking like the timing was a bit off. We were cheated out of the true abilities of Monroe and possibly Zeuxis. They capped off the match with a top rope Spanish Fly delivered to Monroe. Just like that; Aeriel has come and gone from the MYC.
Ring of Honor
The women took the stage for the opening match this week. We were given Tasha Steelz in her bid to challenge the Women of Honor Champ, Sumie Sakai, in a non-title contest with Brandi Rhodes on commentary. From the jump, Steelz came with the intensity. The several attempts to put the champ to the mat were thwarted at each turn. When you think this was all a show for Steelz to prove herself worthy of a title, they swing it to show that this is actually Sakai’s warm up to issue a title challenge.
Going along with the theme of a night of declarations, Jonathan Gresham is set to share his new direction following the ROH Heavyweight Title match. Bully Ray made it his business to intervene and tell Gresham how he’s unappreciated by the ROH faithful. Gresham’s challenge to a wrestling match falls on deaf ears when Bully takes the first opportunity to land a cheap shot on the Octopus, but he did honor the request to shake JG’s hand before pummelling him with the Bully chain. Flip and Jay Lethal, who had earlier laid down an open challenge, both came to Gresham’s aid. The latter was blindsided by Silas Young. This fracas set up a tag match for next week between Lethal and Gresham versus Young and Ray.
SoCal Uncensored took to the main event to face the Briscoe Brothers and Punishment Martinez. Martinez would eventually be taken away from the match by his upcoming title challenger. Scorpio Sky was not much of an impact in the overall outcome of the match because the big point of the match is the story of the Briscoes and the Addiction.
The Authors of Pain continued to dispatch jobbers as we wait to see when the WWE decides to take their legitimate tag teams seriously on the Raw brand.
Rewind to last week, and we would recall seeing Bobby Lashley working out while Lio Rush was going on about something. It was odd, but this week, Rush interrupts an Elias performance to let the drifter know that his main man was had some receipts to cash in. Through much exposition, we come to understand that Rush is now managing the Dominator.
The set up of Nia Jax’s return began when Ember Moon was challenged to select a partner to face Alicia Fox and Mickie James. Jax would defer to the corner to start the match, and the opponents got active with Moon. She persevered through the best they had to offer and even a bit from Alexa Bliss. By the time Jax hit the ring, it was clobbering time. Jax dispatched of Fox long enough for the Eclipse to rise and fall on James ending this match on a high note.
The New Day renewed its rivalry with Sheamus and Cesaro in preparation for the Super Showdown. Kofi Kingston and Cesaro got to flying and smashing in a singles contest to fire up the SmackDown crowd. We’ve seen this matchup many times so there’s nothing new I can tell you. That doesn’t mean this match wasn’t entertaining. From Sheamus taking selfies ringside to Xavier Woods overhyping Kofi’s performance, there was much to keep your eyes on this match. It seemed premature when Cesaro landed the Neutralizer to polish off his victory.
Mixed Match Challenge
Ember Moon filled the spot of the injured Alexa Bliss to team with Braun Strowman to form the new team of Monster Eclipse. The resulting match gave what I believe was the first pairing of Moon and Natalya. It wasn’t the first time we got to experience the athleticism of Ember, but another first was seeing the personality of Ember shine through. This program calls for a lot more connection between the competitors and the fans. My bonus was watching Ember shout instructions at Strowman to set her up for a monster-sized Eclipse from the top of the big man’s shoulders.
The husband-wife duo of Naomi and Jimmy Uso are back for another season of the challenge. They were one and done last go around, but this season is a round robin format. Jimmy took to the ring as the overprotective one when he entered the ring with AJ Styles. The two traded spots to a draw before agreeing to tag in their partners. Naomi and Charlotte also match one another move for move until the moment came for Naomi to attempt a flying crossbody over the top rope; Styles would catch her and prompt Uso to come to her defense. For his troubles, he and Naomi would be the victims of a dive from Charlotte. The queen would apply a Figure 8 to Jimmy that led to a chain of events that ended with Styles and Uso outside the ring as Naomi tapped to the same move sending her team to a 0-1 record.
We were treated to a second pay-per-view level match in a week. This time it was the North American Champion, Ricochet, putting his title on the line against the UK Champion, Pete Dunne. Words can do this match no justice; so you should sign up for the WWE Network or Hulu and check this one out. The action was so intense that I forgot all about the potential for the match to end the way it did.
Nothing says WWE is terrible at handling the cruiserweight division like the fact that this week’s title match between Cedric Alexander and Drew Gulak was a thousand times better than the one we were given at Summer Slam. I try to convince myself that maybe the PPV matches are selling ploys to get people to watch 205 Live. To the match, these two told a wonderful story of a challenger set to prove he was the better man and a champion who was not here for any of that. Alexander threw the kitchen sink at Gulak all while breaking loose from the signature Gulock submission. If you’re not watching the clock, you would not be able to tell when that Lumbar Check is in store. Alexander is moving on to the Super Showdown in Melbourne as the reigning champion.