By Big Red Machine
From May 21, 2017
Yeah... so I only turned this on at about 7:50. I know that I missed the Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English match, but I have no intention of going back to watch it because absolutely nothing has been done to make me give a sh*t about either one of those guys. What I did tune in in time to see, unfortunately, was Erick Rowan wander onto the screen and act extremely strangely. He is apparently wrestling Luke Harper tonight. Didn't that feud end months ago when the Wyatts stopped caring about Harper? Or after Bray got moved to Raw when Rowan just stopped appearing on TV?
DOLPH ZIGGLER vs. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA - 8/10
The purpose of this match was to show what Nakamura could do and they definitely did that here. Nakamura got shined up and was given spots to let his unique personality show through, then Dolph cut him off and worked over Nakamura's head before Nakamura made his comeback, got his sh*t in, and won. A perfect introduction for those who don't get the hype around Shinsuke.
FASHION FILES - Are they really showing a F*CKING RE-RUN OF A F*CKING COMEDY SKIT ON A PPV?! No. It's just part of one. Because that definitely makes it not a waste of time.
WWE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH
The Usos(c) vs. Tyler Breeze & Fandango - DUD!
Breeze is in the same janitor's guise from the skit. And apparently he's going to wrestle dressed like that. In a title match. The referee is just letting Breeze hold that mop while standing standing on the apron. Now he's IN THE RING WITH THE MOP. Still noting from the referee. He just stuck it in Jimmy Uso's face. Shouldn't that be a DQ? Fortunately, Jimmy laid Breeze out and then snapped the mop in half. I popped huge, but the idiots in the crowd booed because they didn't come to see wrestling, they came to see the comedy show... which just makes me wonder why they spend their money on wrestling tickets instead of going to The Second City.
Breeze did more comedy. Then he tagged out. Now he's back in a dress and an old woman's wig. He's still got a weapon: a cane this time. Still nothing from the referee. JBL pretending to have no idea who this is. Then he said that "the Fabulous Moolah is back from the dead," which is exactly the sort of classy comment we've come to expect out of JBL. If Lance Storm had any hair left on his head I'm sure he's pulled it out by now, watching one of his students act like a clown in a title match on PPV while the crowd eats it all up.
The sad part is that there were some very good sequences in here and Breeze took a sick bump onto the barricade towards the end, but the fact remains that a title match was turned into a joke (with JBL playing along only making it worse), and the only emotions I felt were anger at the fact that it looked like the clowns were going to win the tag titles and relief when they didn't. I'm pretty sure that's not the reaction that WWE was going for.
BARON CORBIN vs. SAMI ZAYN - 7.75/10
An excellent rendition "big mean scary heel vs. underdog babyface" story, with some convincing false finishes and an extremely unexpected happy ending.
PLUG FOR ROCKET LEAGUE - Fine. They're a sponsor of the PPV and WWE took the opportunity to merge the plug with a plug for Woods' YouTube channel... but can we please not have babyfaces and heels hanging out together?
JINDER MAHAL PROMO - Fine. I appreciated that he tried to merge the "found my inner peace" pre-push Jinder and the current heel Jinder together.
BECKY LYNCH, CHARLOTTE FLAIR, & NAOMI vs. NATALYA, TAMINA, & CARMELLA (w/James Ellsworth) - 6.5/10
Ellsworth introduce Carmella via a fun, short heel promo. The match itself started off not feeling like much but got pretty decent by the end.
WWE UNITED STATES TITLE MATCH
Kevin Owens(c) vs. AJ Styles - 8.25/10
An awesome match with a very disappointing finish- and one that looked extremely dangerous at that. Basically what happened was that Owens spent the whole match working over AJ's leg. AJ had gone to give Owens the Styles Clash on the announcers' table but Owens tripped him up and his leg fell through the hole where one of the monitors had been removed from and he couldn't get back to the ring in time to beat the count-out. I had originally written that this was a "bad" finish but the truth is that it's a good finish done in the wrong place. This is the sort of finish you do on TV to set up a Falls Count Anywhere rematch on the PPV, not the sort of finish you do one the PPV itself. Owens superkicked the helpless AJ after the match just because.
ERICK ROWAN vs. LUKE HARPER - 6.25/10
What the f*ck? They're showing clips from Talking Smack and Erick Rowan is talking? Since when can he do that? They had a fun hoss-fight, but I just couldn't bring myself to care about who won. Harper wound up picking up the clean win. At this point I don't understand why they even keep Rowan on the roster. He's basically the Jolly Green(-Garbed) Giant Jobber.
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH
Randy Orton(c) vs. Jinder Mahal (w/the Singh Brothers) - 6.25/10
Orton jumped Jinder for no reason and beat him up before the match. Once the referee separated them, Jinder bravely volunteered to fight on, not wanting to give up this once and a lifetime opportunity. Jinder is supposed to be the heel. You might not be surprised to learn that the previously pro-Orton crowd soon became split 50-50.
Randy worked Jinder's back while Jinder worked Randy's arm. Randy managed to hit an RKO out of nowhere which Jinder didn't take well at all. The Singh brothers pulled Jinder out of the ring before Randy could pin him. Randy beat the Singh brothers up a lot instead of going after Jinder after he had disposed of both Singhs. Randy was about to give the Singh's a double rope-hung DDT but Jinder snuck into the ring behind Randy, hit him with the Khallas and pinned him... a finish which was completely identical to the go-home angle they did on Smackdown. Jinder has yet to win a match cleanly during his push and is claiming the fans are racist when they're not so he's clearly a heel... but then why did Randy spend most of this match acting like a heel?
On Talking Smack Renee Young and Peter Rosenberg are having a very odd reaction to all of this: they're treating this like it's some sort of big babyface underdog victory and yet they're talking about how the crowd is "devastated" by it.
Going into this show I think most people had very low expectations. I know I did, figuring that only the US Title match and Dolph vs. Nakamura were going to be worth watching and I was certainly wrong, as Corbin vs. Zayn definitely over-delivered (thanks to Sami's carry-job) and the women's tag wound up better than it looked like it was going to be early on, but the two biggest questions going into this show were "will WWE pull the trigger on Jinder" and "will Jinder be able to deliver at a main event level" and the answers to those questions were "yes" and "no" respectively, the absolute worst possible combination. I hate to say it, but it's pretty clear that Jinder is only in the position he is in because he's the only Indian on the roster and WWE is looking to open up that market (which makes his kayfabe claims of discrimination quite ironic). On an episode of Between The Sheets Dave Prazak was asked for his opinion as a booker on the push of DDP and how much of it had to do with him being pals with Hall, Nash, and especially Bischoff. Prazak's response (as best I remember it) was that whatever the reason for the push, Page had worked hard and gotten over before it happened and went on to deliver to the level he was pushed to, so there should be no real reason for anyone to be resentful. Jinder is, unfortunately, the counterpoint to that. There is no nice way to say this, but he just simply doesn't deserve his spot and is only getting it for extremely transparent reasons, and in a company that has spent so much time trying to shove Roman Reigns down our throats and took so long to push Daniel Bryan (after years of trying to quash him) I can't see this getting a good reaction. It might help them in India, (assuming that the new Indian fan base they create doesn't get on the Internet and/or talk with the already smarky by definition because they'd have to be on the Internet community of Indian pro wrestling fans who tell them exactly why this has happened) but as the likes of Sami Zayn, American Alpha, Apollo Crews, Luke Harper, and others are left to flounder in favor of Jinder, it could create quite the backlash everywhere else.
STUPID ANNOUNCER QUOTES
1. Tom Phillips noted that Rowan and Harper were former NXT tag champs together but said that they have "both evolved since then."
How, exactly? They got new gear? They're both the same exact characters they were back then, even without Bray bossing them around.
2. JBL, after Jinder won the title- "What does this mean for the WWE?!"
That there is a new champion? Why should this title change be any different?