WWE SMACKDOWN TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The New Day(c) (w/Xavier Woods) vs. Aiden English & Rusev (w/Lana) - 5.5/10
And just like that Rusev Day are having problems again, meaning that we're back to square one. AGAIN. Either take a sh*t or get off the pot.
HELL IN A CELL MATCH:
Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy - 8.5/10
The geniuses at WWE have decided that it was a good idea to pain the cell red. I have no idea what they thought this would be a good idea. It makes this dangerous match look goofy, and I don't see what they could possibly gain from it.
They had an awesome weapons match (making some use of the cell as well), with Orton working over Jeff's back... and then Orton stuck a screwdriver through Jeff's earhole and I had had enough. I don't want to see anyone ripping at anyone else's ear-holes. They creep me out enough as is, and this is just about the only thing worse. I understand that Orton is trying to "disturb" me, but if you disturb me too much then I'm going to just stop watching.
Fortunately Jeff got away started to make a comeback so that they could hopefully be done with this disgusting ear stuff. They then went into their false finishes and it got really awesome, although my earlier veiled complaint that they could have done everything pretty much the same without the fire-engine red cell surrounding the ring.
Then the finish came. Jeff had Orton on a table and went to do his leapfrog a ladder legdrop. It looked to me like the first ladder was too low for Jeff to be able to get over the top of the second, and Jeff apparently had similar thoughts, and he tentatively climbed the second lamer, then tried to money-bars across the cage roof and swing and hit some sort of splash. Orton moved out of the way, Jeff went through the table... and didn't get up, and the referee immediately started screaming for help. If this was a work, then they sure as hell fooled me. Hopefully Jeff is okay. Best case scenario is that he "merely" knocked himself out.
Orton insisted that the referee count a pin for him. This is something that I'm sure will be discussed a lot in the next few days, and while I understand the reasoning for not touching Jeff, I put the fault here on the referee. If the guy is shoot hurt to the point where you are screaming for help then CALL FOR THE F*CKING BELL. It's not an I Quit Match. It can end by referee stoppage. If you're the referee then do as Jim Ross famously said in a similar situation and "STOP THE DAMN MATCH!"
AJ STYLES PROMO - Fine
WWE SMACKDOWN WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH:
Charlotte Flair(c) vs. Becky Lynch - 7.75/10
They were working an awesome "world title" style match with each woman picking apart a limb and they brought all of the necessary fire and intensity and started adding a bit of babyface/heel dynamics in there with Becky leaving the Disarm-her on until four even though Charlotte was in the ropes... and then it just ended abruptly with Becky rolling Charlotte up. That was almost painfully anticlimactic. After the match, Becky got in Charlotte's face and Charlotte just took it like a good sport.
NEW DAY BACKSTAGE - They were stupid and embarrassing. And, even worse, this time, there were other people in the room.
WWE RAW TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Dolph Ziggler & Drew McIntyre(c) vs. The Shield (Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose) - 9/10
No, babyface announcers, I don't have to "applaud" Dolph Ziggler for his f*cking CHEATING. You should be getting angry. (Then again, none of the tags to Ambrose should have counted because Dean was never holding the tag rope).
They had an AWESOME back-and-forth tag team match with tons of heat. The lesson of tonight's show so far has been "if you take great workers and given them lots of time and don't get in their way with stupid bullsh*t finishes, then they'll put on awesome wrestling matches. And, sad as it seems, that is a lesson this company needs to learn at this point.
MICK FOLEY CONFRONTS BRAUN STROWMAN BACKSTAGE - Bad. This was done solely to create a problem for later, which is made even worse by the fact that Mick was the one who instigated this by trying to give Braun a f*cking lecture for no reason. Did Mick really think Braun would said "yes, Mick. Thank you for telling me that the cell will change my life, and I will indeed submit to your authority as the referee?"
Are they really replaying Joe's ENTIRE promo from Smackdown? Dude... it's the f*cking PPV! Anyone who is seeing this HAS ALREADY GIVEN YOU THEIR MONEY!
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
AJ Styles(c) vs. Samoa Joe - 8.5/10
Yet another awesome match. They had some great nearfalls, and brought all of the necessary intensity to make this the brawl it needed to be. AJ rolled Joe up out of the Coquina Clutch. Joe is insistent that AJ tapped out but I didn't see it. AJ posed with the belt but Joe took it away from him so AJ hit Joe with an enzugiri. They finally found a second camera angle... and it turns out Joe was right, and AJ did tap out as the referee was counting three, so that means that we have YET ANOTHER F*CK FINISH IN AN AJ STYLES TITLE DEFENSE. AJ has now had SIX PPV title defenses since WrestleMania and ALL BUT TWO OF THEM HAVE HAD A F*CK FINISH. Not cool.
MIZ & MARYSE INTERVIEW - Fine.
MIXED TAG TEAM MATCH:
The Miz & Maryse vs. Daniel Bryan & Brie Bella - 6/10
The story of this match was that the men did the work while the women just had Maryse run away from Brie a lot. This culminated in Miz trying to stand in Brie's way sso she just started to punch him, then slid through his legs to hit Maryse with a baseball slide. Some stuff happened on the outside, and then Brie got Maryse in the Yes Lock in the middle of the ring but Miz pulled her off... and everyone acted like Miz had bashed her in the skull with a chair. I'm sorry, but it's kind of hard for me to get upset about Miz pulling Brie off of a cover on Maryse when Brie was just punching Miz in the face a minute ago.
Some more stuff happened, resulting in Brie throwing Maryse into Miz, sending Miz to the outside, then rolling Maryse up... and Maryse just rolled over and wound up on top of Brie and pinned her, clean as a sheet that just went through the laundry six straight times. That finish made Brie look like a complete and total loser.
WWE RAW WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH:
Ronda Rousey(c) (w/Natalya) vs. Alexa Bliss! (w/Mickie James & Alicia Fox) - 7/10
We couldn't put some tape on Ronda's ribs or something to remind everyone of the go-home angle that is supposed to be the only reason we think Alexa has anything resembling a snowball's chance of beating Ronda?
I thought this was BY FAR Ronda's best match. They did a great job telling their story (Alexa's work on Ronda's ribs), Alexa was her usual excellent heel self, and Ronda sold very well. I was quite shocked that they didn't have Ronda kick out of Twisted Bliss, though. It would have made for a great false finish because not only is it Alexa's finisher but it also damages the opponent's ribs, and this is almost certainly the last match of this feud, so there isn't much reason not to have Ronda kick out of it. Also, can someone pretty please make me a gif of Alexa mocking Ronda's angry face?
SAMOA JOE YELLS AT PAIGE & THE REFEREE - Fine. Joe was very angry and screamed a lot. Paige managed to come across as fair, authoritative, and reasonable, which is what all babyface authority figures should be. We're getting a rematch at Super Show-Down where we were promised that "there must be a winner," but they didn't tell us how they would ensure that. At this point this really just feels like a repeat of the Nakamura feud.
HELL IN A CELL MATCH FOR THE WWE UNIVERSAL TITLE WITH MICK FOLEY AS SPECIAL GUEST REFEREE:
Roman Reigns(c) vs. Braun Strowman- 6.75/10? Or maybe 6/10 and another 6/10? Or maybe just a bad segment? I give up.
Remember what I said earlier about how if you just give good workers a bunch of time and solid finish then the matches will be really great? Well...
Roman and Braun started off having a really great brawl. They used the cell, they used weapons, they did cool stuff, they hit their signatures moves, etc. Then they both went through a table, and all of a sudden Drew & Dolph came out, followed closely by Seth & Dean, and a second match broke out outside and eventually on top of the ring. This eventually culminated in Seth and Dolph taking a very forced-looking bump from half-way up the cell down through the one commentary table each. This really felt like it happened simply because someone thought fans would be disappointed if someone didn't fall from a great height through a commentary table. Here's an idea... how about we actually do an entire HIAC show where NO ONE takes a crazy, dangerous bump.
At this point Braun and Roman, supposedly two of the toughest guys in the company, have been down for at least five straight minutes. Then Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman came out. At this point I was honestly wondered if I had dozed off and missed Roman and Braun doing a finish before the tag title feud came out. One kick from Brock look this supposedly "reinforced" cell and not only knocked the door off of its hinges, but also broke the chain for good measure. Heyman sprayed something in Foley's eyes to take care of him without him having to bump. Then Brock beat up both Braun and Roman. Oh goody. Brock is back to not wrestle some more. And, even better, they have now added a third person to this feud who they will go to extreme lengths to avoid beating cleanly, so we've now got months and months of f*ck finishes in our future. And in case you should somehow have some optimism that they won't give us f*ck finish after f*ck finish for months to come, tonight's main event world title HELL IN A CELL MATCH... WAS DECLARED A "NO-CONTEST" BECAUSE NEITHER MAN WAS ABLE TO CONTINUE. F*CK OFF!
Never mind the usual frustration of interference in the main event and no-contest in the main event and a no contest in a f*cking HELL IN A CELL MATCH, but Brock didn't even do that much to them! So F-5s and he hit them with a table? So f*cking what! As were constantly reminded, Mick Foley fell off the top of the damn cell, then got back up... and then he got chokeslammed through the roof of it and managed to get up again! And yet these two are put down by a table a few F-5s? Barely a year ago we saw Braun walk off GETTING HIT BY A TRUCK! But Brock's F-5s put him down? F*ck off.
WWE's main roster has had a REALLY sh*tty year, booking-wise, in which they have done many, many, many things in idiotic and frustrating ways, but this might be the single most frustrating, and here is why. Before the bullsh*t in the main event, this was looking like it was going to be THE BEST WWE PPV IN A LONG, LONG, LONG TIME. I honestly cannot remember the last WWE PPV where never mind everything being at least good, but where there wasn't even anything that dragged. Everything felt like it served a worthwhile purpose, everything got enough time, the finishes all made some manner of sense (the execution in the mixed tag was bad but Maryse pinning Brie to prevent the babyfaces from getting revenge, although personally I think that it's Bryan's revenge on Miz that is really the important part and thus Brie should have pinned Maryse here as that would still keep the Bryan/Miz heat going while giving Brie, the active wrestler, the win over the woman who is mostly a valet at this point)... hell, the show was good enough that several paragraphs ago, I of all people was arguing that Ronda Rousey should have gone the full Hogan and kicked out of Alexa Bliss!'s finisher before overcoming the odds and beating her clean. Then Roman and Braun go out there and start tearing it up... and then they just stop that match for... whatever you call a f*cking run-in that doesn't actually affect the match, and then so Brock Lesnar could return and cause a f*cking NO CONTEST IN A HELL IN A CELL WORLD TITLE MAIN EVENT, because apparently we're all supposed to get excited for the same exact Universal Title picture that we've had for an entire year now.
I mean... WHAT THE F*CK HAPPENED?! This show was going SO WELL! It honest to G-d felt like a TakeOver, with everything getting time and delivering. Did Vince doze off half an hour before bell time and Hunter quickly rebooked everything and gave us this awesome show and then Vince woke up in the middle of the main event and started screaming "HUNTER, WHAT THE F*CK IS THIS SH*T?! We can't have all these clean finishes on PPV! Someone tell Foley to have them all play dead after the next big spot, then send Shield, Ziggler, and the one with the funny accent to go fall off the cell, then send Brock out there to make the match a no contest. That's how you get people talking, dammit!"
F*CK. THIS. COMPANY.