Battle of the Brands: Raw Vs. Smackdown 5/21 – 5/22/18

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Raw Grade: D+

Show opens with Kurt Angle :

Angle comes down to announce Rousey will be here tonight and some new MITB Qualifiers. Stephania Mcmahon returns and puts herself in charge of the Nia Jax vs. Ronda Rousey contract signing later tonight. Steph just mentions Roman’s name which causes him to come down to a chorus of boos. Roman continues his anti-management angle which causes Kevin Owens to come down. Owens acts like he likes Roman and tries to form a friendship with Stephanie but Stephanie refuses and schedules an Owens vs. Reigns match. 

Kevin Owens vs. Roman Reigns :

This match was actually very solid with Reigns looking good early on with his cool shoulder tackle that Owens sold with a full flip. The near falls were believable with the crowd into it but as soon as it got good Jinder Mahal attacked ending it in a Roman win by DQ. Seth Rollins comes down and saves Roman starting a tag team match. **3/4

Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal and Kevin Owens :

The match starts with Mahal and Rollins and starts hot with a Plancha Dive by Rollins. Rollins continues to showcase his greatness and Roman surprisingly takes most of the damage and this leads to a competitive with Rollins getting the Curb Stomp and Pin on Owens. ***

Impressively, with Reigns being in the shot for almost a full hour he entertained and shows that he has improved. If you think Roman is why WWE isn’t reaching it’s full potential currently, as many do, that’s not completely true. 

Roman Reigns vs. Jinder Mahal announced for MITB

Sami Zayn “exposes” Bobby Lashley

After I was actually positive on Roman Reigns that tone gets taken down. Coming out of the gates, this is THE single worst RAW segment of all time. Lashley talking creepily about his sisters was already weird but the writers decided to take it further. Zayn brings out 3 sloppily dressed men in drag which is demeaning to the LGBT and Wrestling Fans. This is a segment you would never want to show a non-wrestling fan. The “Sisters” decide to have a full promo of how Lashley was a bully. Lashley comes down and no sells the trash that’s being thrown at him in this segment and has a full smile on his face and goes on to beat up his sisters. This was the WORST THING EVER. 

Alexa Bliss vs. Ember Moon

As these two are some of the best women wrestlers in the world currently they managed to only have an okay match with what they were given. Moon sold the shoulder like she did back in NXT and Bliss is AGAIN friends with Mickie James. Moon hits the Eclipse for the win. **

No Way Jose vs. Baron Corbin

No Way Jose has gone above the level of Adam Rose and Baron Corbin deserves so much more. When Jose gets serious he is great in the ring and he should have an amazing match to solidify himself on the main roster. This wasn’t it as it was an okay but unique Corbin led match with him picking up the win. **

Breezango vs. B-Team 

I’ve tweeted so many times that the B-Team is the highlight of Raw. When they won really quick here their celebration put the widest smile on my face. This is what the Social Outcasts should’ve been. It’s time for a RAW Tag Title run for Dallas and Axel. 

Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax RAW Women’s Championship Contract Signing

This was the 2nd most highlight on tonight’s RAW. This made the title feel prestigious and boosted Jax as the champion. Rousey is most likely going to win at MITB but that’s okay. She has been off to a HOT start and could be the future or even the NOW of Women’s wrestling. This match is going to feel like a fight too. 

Dolph Ziggler vs. Chad Gable 

These two are crazy underrated and put on a pretty solid TV match to show it. Ziggler FINALLY has momentum and needs to build on it more. He picked up a decisive victory here but Gable needs to be pushed too. **1/4

Elias vs. Bobby Roode AGAIN 

For like the 50th time these guys put on a solid match. Elias picks up a victory. My prediction is that Roode wins the briefcase and uses it to turn into a cocky heel. 

Finn Balor vs. Braun Strowman

This was the best thing faded out by a boring show and a HORRIBLE segment. Balor looked great in this match giving Strowman some trouble. Strowman continues to be on a roll. Mid-match, Finn Balor hits a coup de grace off the barricade and throws Strowman over the barricade. Strowman rises up behind Balor giving an awesome monster visual. These two had a match kinda reminiscing something like Styles vs. Lesnar. ***1/4

Last Word: Nothing other than the Lashley segment was horrible the show dragged on and nothing was quite great. Lashley’s sisters’ segment was so, so bad it took the whole show down. Strowman vs. Balor was fun and the B-Team continues on their roll. Reigns looked impressive even with what he’s being given.

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SD Live 5/22 Grade: B+ 

Better Show Record since SuperStar ShakeUp 2018: 3-2 SD Live

Miz TV with the New Day 

Miz runs down each member of the New Day here explaining why they should be in MITB. Miz references Fortnite which means that that epidemic has gone too far. New Day says the member in the match is Big E but not MITB but in a match against Miz right now. Miz says no and leaves but runs into Paige backstage who confirms the match.

Big E vs. The Miz

This match had a lot of comedy and the Miz and Big E characters clashed well. New Day members switched out on commentary. The match itself had some believable near falls and went a good while for a TV match. The Bar attacks New Day on the outside and off the distraction Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale for the win. **3/4

Lana vs. Billie Kay Qualifying Match 

English puts over Lana heavily in this match. English waives around a Lana Day sign distracting the IIconics ending in a really quick Lana shock win. Putting Lana over as a babyface along with the rest of Rusev Day is the right way to go. Hopefully Lana performs well in MITB. 

Andrade Almas cuts a promo and beats a jobber. Almas is starting the shine and show character on the main roster after being one of the all-time NXT greats. 

AJ vs. Shinsuke Stipulation Revealed 

This segment was crazy corny at the start with Nakamura announcing a pillow fight as the stipulation which fired back at Styles calling him the King of Soft Style. But as soon as Naka became serious this segment got good. Their outside brawl was fast and furious and Naka counted Styles out announcing the Last Man Standing Match as the stipulation. Hopefully this match shines and creates magic. 

Usos vs. Gallows and Anderson winner faces Bludgeon Brothers at MITB

This match was hotly contested and finally showed a good side of the GoodBrothers. There were some very believable near falls and OGBC pulled out a suprise win in a good match. ***

Naomi vs. Sonya Deville MITB Qualifier

These two’s styles clashed so well. The MMA of Deville and the fire of Naomi made for a good quick match. The Kickfest these two had ending in a double step-up enzugiri was a great spot. Naomi pulled off a roll up victory to qualify for MITB. **1/2

Daniel Bryan vs. Jeff Hardy Winner Faces Samoa Joe to Qualify for MITB

This is a first-time ever match and even with that they had great charisma. Even though Bryan has to hold back on his normal insane moves since the injury. They both dived into each other and Bryan hit hard in this match. This was a very WWE style match and it got pretty good. Jeff Hardy hit a swanton bomb but bounced off of Bryan’s knees hard. The match ended abruptly with a brutal Bryan Dragon Screw and a Heel Hook Submission for Bryan. Post match Samoa Joe confronted Bryan. ***1/2

Last Word: Unlike RAW, this show actually built up to MITB. This show was very entertaining with only Kay vs. Lana as a con. Bryan vs. Hardy was a great main event, Styles and Naka continues their almost good feud. Hopefully the Good Brothers start their Career Revival here and New Day and The Miz’s characters clashed greatly. 

 

 

 

 

 

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