I've actually got it muted on my TV while I watch Evolve 88 on my computer, but I couldn't help but notice (damn you and your cute smile, Renee Young, for distracting me I'm trying to watch two half-naked men roll around on the mat together. Can't you see I'm trying to watch Tracy Williams put Darby Allin in a wristlock?!) that, based on the graphic at the bottom of the screen, they appeared to be talking about the Punjabi Prison Match between Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal, a match which takes places Smackdown's July PPV, Battleground- i.e. NOT ON THIS SHOW. If you've got enough time to hype a match for a PPV from the other brand, two weeks away, then maybe the pre-show doesn't need to be so damn long. Or at least the boring talking parts. Maybe we could give some extra time to the wrestling match? Please?
The other thing I saw, as I came back from getting my pizza, was that Dana Brooke and Emma are going to do... something. Make a plan, I think. Whatever it is, it seems like it can only increase the chances of Alexa Bliss! retaining the title tonight, which is a good thing because I want Alexa to be the champion forever.
Also, I heard Renee Young refer to Dean Ambrose as "the most must-see Superstar today." That's a completely biased opinion. Don't you just hate those?
WWE CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Neville(c) vs. Tozawa (w/Titus O'Neil) - 6/10
We interrupted this match for a commercial for the very service that nearly everyone watching this match is already using. And do they really think that if there is someone who isn't subscribed to the WWE Network after a month's worth of hype for BROCK LESNAR VS. SAMOA JOE, that the same stupid commercial we always see finally make them change their mind?
They had a fine match for the time they were given. Neville won debatably cleanly, but the move the move that ultimately put Tozawa down was the dreaded kick to the stomach, so Tozawa is dead anyway, no matter whether you thought Neville dumping Tozawa on his crotch on the ropes was intentional or not.
OPENING VIDEO PACKAGE - It's got a 1950's drive-in movie theme. You know... because championships and ambulance matches and SAMOA F*CK JOE VS. BROCK F*CKING LESNAR are all things that you should definitely be trying to get me excited for via stupid, kitchy humor.
BRAY WYATT vs. SETH ROLLINS - 7/10
Apparently the official name of Seth Rollins' knock-off Rainmaker knee-strike is... "the spin-out knee." It's been MONTHS and they couldn't come up with anything better than that? Really?
Both guys work the head. Bray got Rollins angry, and when the ref tried to pull Seth off of him because Seth was in the ropes, Bray poked him in the eye, then hit Sister Abigail for the win. Cole put a lot of focus on Seth losing his temper being the thing that let Bray set up the eye-poke. I'm not sure how that will play into the whole overarching "false prophet" angle, but if it does, this finish will have been an excellent way get there.
CHARLY CARUSO INTERVIEWS THE HARDY BOYZ - Matt's stuff sounded obnoxiously scripted but that was on purpose because he was trying to slip his various broken buzzwords in to the promo. Jeff sounded much more natural, until that painful "we break bars" line at the end (and him saying it in unison with Matt only made it worse).
ENZO AMORE PROMO - A good promo, but this is a freakin' PPV.
COLIN CASSADY vs. ENZO AMORE - 2.5/10
This was basically a squash. They did enough to make Enzo look like a fighter and Cass certainly looked dominant, so they achieved their goal, but the match gets a low rating because it was so one-sided and not particularly entertaining for most of it. I probably could have rated it as a segment, but I decided not to.
30 MINUTE IRONMAN MATCH:
Sheamus & Cesaro(c) vs. The Hardy Boyz - 9/10
This was nothing more than a couple of extremely well done rounds of the standard babyface in peril stuff combined with a couple of excellently-designed falls. MAJOR props are due to whoever put this match together. That being said, it would have been nice if they had showed us that last tag between Sheamus and Cesaro because I sure as hell didn't see it, or anything that even looked close to it.
WWE RAW WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH:
Alexa Bliss!(c) vs. Sasha Banks- 6.75/10
Alexa worked over Sasha's back while Sasha get going for the Banks Statement. They had what was on track to be a really great match until it was cut short by a terrible count-out finish. IT'S A F*CKING PPV! This is a TV finish.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Sasha was angry so she jumped Alexa from behind while Alexa was heading up the ramp. Sasha dove off of the announcers' table and hit Alexa (who was down on the floor) with the Meteora, which looked extremely un-fun to take for Alexa. What was the point of doing this? To let Sasha get revenge on Alexa? Why does she need to do that right now? And if the reason for doing this big spot was to make up for the sh*tty finish then maybe you just shouldn't have booked a sh*tty finish in the first place.
TITUS O'NEIL & AKIRA TOZAWA BACKSTAGE - The sound cut out on my WWE Network so I couldn't hear what was said.
WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH:
The Miz(c) (w/Maryse & The Miz-tourage) vs. Dean Ambrose - 4.5/10
Miz worked over Dean's knee but Dean didn't sell it particularly well. Miz won through lots of dog and pony show stuff. At one point Dean had Miz beat put Maryse put Miz's foot on the rope. While this is technically a heel spot, I was kind of happy that it happened because it confirms to us that Douchebag Dean's plan to ruin Miz and Maryse's happy marriage just so he can win a wrestling feud has failed.
Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns - 7/10
Braun Strowman, the most badass badass in the history of badasses, just went all Ishii on Roman's chairshots to his (uninjured) arm... an unlike with Ishii, it doesn't feel dumb and pointless because it didn't happen at a totally random point in the match.
These guys had the great brawl you were expecting them to have, but that finish made Roman look like such an idiot. And speaking of things that don't make Roman look good, next we got a...
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - WHO THE F*CK THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA?! Roman comes out of the ambulance, spears the unsuspecting Strowman, beats him up, throws him into the ambulance, closes the doors, carjacks the driver, and starts driving away. You'll remember that Roman had previously told Braun "I will drive you straight to hell" so I was getting really concerned that Roman had snapped and was going to drive the ambulance off of a bridge or something and commit a murder-suicide. Instead, he merely drove it into the parking lot, then backed up at high speed and slammed the ambulance into a parked car. Yes, really. ROMAN REIGNS JUST TRIED TO MURDER BRAUN STROWMAN.
They showed us everyone being concerned and them trying to open the ambulance to see if Braun was okay but they couldn't do so and had to call the fire department. Meanwhile, they sent Heath Slater and Curt Hawkins out to the ring to have a match. The crowd predictably responded by chanting "WE WANT BALOR!" because Finn Balor inexplicably wasn't booked on this PPV. I assume they were sent out there for this match so that we wouldn't have to watching them waiting around until Braun was rescued, but once the "fire department" (whose truck actually said "U.S. Air Force" on the front) showed up, we cut right away from the match (although we were allowed to hear that Slater won) and got to spend several minutes watching them cut Braun Strowman out of the ambulance. They tried to Braun onto the stretcher but he fought them off and stumbled to the ground a few times, but he got back to his feet and limped away on his own, like the biggest babyface ever.
But yeah. ROMAN REIGNS JUST COMMITTED ATTEMPTED MURDER. And the closest anyone ever came to criticizing him for his actions was Corey Graves saying that attempted murder was going "a little too far." No sh*t.
WWE UNIVERSAL TITLE MATCH:
Brock Lesnar(c) (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Samoa Joe - DUD!
Joe jumps Brock before the bell and beats on Brock, ending with an STJoe through the Spanish (or maybe German) announcers' table. "Joe's gonna kill you!" chants. Sorry, everyone, but it's the other Samoan named Joe that we all need to be worried about committing homicide.
They did stuff all building around the Coquina Clutch... and then Brock hit the F-5 and won. F*ck that. I've been waiting over a DECADE to see two of the biggest badasses in wrestling go at it, and they don't even go six and a half minutes? F*CK YOU, WWE! I gave them a pass at Mania because I figured maybe Goldberg didn't want to go more than five minutes and WWE was stuck, but this one is total f*cking bullsh*t. After a month's worth of awesome build they could have made Joe's WWE career here with an epic match, even if he lost clean, but instead they decided to flush that build right down the toilet and bury Joe as a guy who couldn't hang with Brock even when he assaulted Brock and put him through an announcers' table right before the match.
At this point they've totally killed Brock as a draw for me because I don't trust that I'll get a real match out of him anymore. The only person I can see them letting him have a real match with is Roman when they finally give Roman that big win that will make us all start to like him all of a sudden. Is this really worth the money they're paying Brock? To run away with the top championship for months at a time in between occasionally showing up for a disappointing match that barely goes longer than the combined total of its entrances?
Before the end of the women's match I was thinking to myself that this might turn out to be a really awesome show, but then WWE had to ruin just about everything from that point on. How dumb can you get? I'm off to finish last night's EVOLVE show, where I know I'm going to get a real main event and some competent booking. F*ck WWE.