0 out of 6
WWE She continued building toward her premium live event at WrestleMania Backlash Friday night on SmackDown with a show of putting the brand’s best competitors and Superstars front and center and featuring a steel cage match main event.
With nowhere to run or hide, Drew McIntyre finally got his hands on Sami Zayn, this time inside a steel cage. Was the Scottish Warrior able to silence the Great Liberator before moving on to bigger and better things or did Zane find a way to steal the win and improve his inventory on Friday nights?
Did Charlotte Flair or Ronda Rousey beat the clock as they tried to gain momentum and bragging rights to enter the next awesomeness and I Quit match for the SmackDown Women’s Championship?
Find out the answers to these questions and more in this summary for the April 29th episode.
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There was nowhere to run or hide for Sami Zayn on Friday night as Drew McIntyre finally got his hands on The Great Liberator inside a steel cage at the top of the show.
Despite starting the bout seeing him wrap around the squared circle as the Scottish Warrior unleashed weeks of frustration on him, Zayn found himself in control of the match for several moments. Then came a supernatural reaction from the top of the rope that led to the return of the WWE Champion and victory through Claymore.
The match was very interesting and played with split performers. Zayn was a coward early on and trash talk when he dominated the match. When McIntyre caught fire, he crashed appropriately and ate the pin as expected.
He left McIntyre with momentum at his side and the clear number one contender for the Roman reigns and the World Championship. Whether that match unfolds amid an apparent lack of animosity for The Head of the Table entering WrestleMania Backlash remains to be seen but no one in the blue brand can reasonably jump on it at this point.
Where that leaves Zayn and where he goes is a mystery. Whatever it is, he fantasizes about being super entertaining and undeniably cool while doing it.
The most important moments
- Drew Gulak was the guest star guest for match time.
- Zane prevented another trip to the side of the cage by quickly climbing over it in an attempt to escape.
- Great photo of a sunset flipping a powerbomb by Zayn around the tides.
- The super tier from the top of the cage spot won’t stop being awesome.
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Avenging Madcap Moss responded to a sneak attack by Happy Corbin at last week’s show in Happy Talk Boycott on Friday. Corbin was sent to center of the ring and thrust to the ground before standing erect, excited, with an edge of intensity never before seen outside of a court jester.
It was the sharpness and facial expressions that accompanied it that made Moss a nominee for this year’s Breakout Star. Now, if only he could change the name…
After a quick commercial break, Ricochet defended his Intercontinental Championship against Shankey, who was accompanied by former WWE Champion Jinder Mahal.
Despite the interference of the modern day Maharaja, The One and Only continued its latter role by stacking Shanky to achieve a riveting victory. The match was what it was: a perfectly tolerable confrontation between a huge heel and an underdog little face. It’s a formula we’ve seen play out countless times in the world of professional wrestling, where the smaller guy somehow manages to outsmart the much bigger opponent.
Shanky looked like a guy with potential but wasn’t necessarily ready to hang out with Ricochet from another world. More reps in the ring in matches intended to help him grow. A row with fellow Mahal, ironically after the bell, is not necessarily the most appropriate fit for him at this point.
C + for happy talk; C to bounce back vs. Shanky
The most important moments
- “…in my dick onesie!” Pat McAfee chanted as Moss, with a sledgehammer, attacked Corbin.
- Shankey literally threw the obvious throwback across the ring as he beat the champ.
- Ricochet wore huge red patches on his chest at one point, a testament to the attack he had to overcome to successfully retain his title.
- He stirred up Shanky and the subject of contention after the match, and hinted at a feud that no one had ever asked for.
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After weeks of backstage promotions and video bundles, Raquel Rodriguez made her main roster debut in the ring by crushing Kat Cardonza (Layla Gray for indie fans) and finishing it off with a one-arm powerbomb.
The debut was good enough, but it didn’t do much to tell the audience who Rodriguez is. She smiled a lot, but there was no indication what her personality was or why anyone should care. It will have to change or not a difference in size or strength feature will help her to form this very important connection with the audience.
After a commercial break, Adam Pearce managed a contract signing between Raw Tag Team Champions RK-Bro and SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos.
Chaos reigned as WrestleMania Backlash’s opponents wasted little time squabbling with each other, bringing the undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns into the squared circle. The distraction allowed the Usos to outperform their competitors. Drew McIntyre tackled Reigns head-on, sparking the most anticipated feud since the moment the Scottish Warrior arrived on Friday nights.
McIntyre removed Reigns from the ring and stood tall to close the clip, with the segment raising questions about the RK-Bro vs Usos match announced at WrestleMania Backlash and sparking intrigue for a fight between Tribal Chief and McIntyre.
Could a six-man tag team match be on the horizon, an easy way for a company that booked an ill-advised unification title match that doubles as an induction for the Reigns-McIntyre program? As seen in a behind-the-scenes clip, Paul Heyman strongly advised Adam Pierce to make it happen.
c – for Rodriguez’s debut; b to sign the contract
The most important moments
- “This here, is nothing but a little bitch,” Randy Orton Said about Jimmy Uso.
- McIntyre threw Reigns across the ring.
- “What does this mean for the tag team title unification match?” Michael Cole reflected on the comment.
- “This has been a long time!” yelled a smoldering MacIntyre, staring at the tribal chief.
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With an impending showdown for the Women’s Tag Team Championship on the horizon, Naomi Shayna Pazler, along with her partners Sasha Banks and Natalya, battled ringside.
One quick match featured a back-and-forth from the champ and queen of spades, culminating with the latter hitting her aggressive opponent with a range of points for the win.
However, the outcome didn’t matter, as Baszler and Natalia left the champions to lie in, to rule their dominance ahead of the as-yet-to-be-announced title match. Given that Baszler and Natalya are a relatively new entity and less of a champion, it makes sense that WWE Creative would find it necessary to build up some heat. Based on the crowd’s reaction, he succeeded.
With Butch’s place in question, Seamus accompanied Ridge Holland to the squared circle for a match with Xavier Woods of The New Day, who was accompanied by Kofi Kingston. Holland dominated the event, but his arrogance came at a cost as Woods scored the win over the self-confident young star with the Backwoods group.
Not to be ahead, Sheamus challenged Kingston to a match right after that. He scored the win in a match that didn’t have to happen, ending a part that didn’t get anything done.
Why does WWE Creative feel the need to constantly dump Sheamus and Holland, and not let them lose out or look weak? They are high-heeled shoes that constantly beat on the faces of children and never get their consequences. Placing Woods at a table erases any momentum he gained by defeating the Netherlands, and makes the 50-50 booking of the piece all but meaningless.
This was the opposite of the previous section.
C + for the women’s tag team chip; D – for the new day – Estee Boys bullshit
The most important moments
- “The bell, Drew,” said Pat McAfee of Gulak as timekeeper. “I’ve complained about everything else.”
- Natalia is shocked by Naomi, but Banks purges the Queen of Heart, only to fall prey to a slanderer by the Queen of Hearts.
- Baszler stepped on Naomi’s arm, leaving McAfee and Michael Cole in disgust at the comments table.
- “I miss Big E,” McAfee said. Cole responded in a beautiful display of solidarity in support of the former WWE Champion, who has stopped playing and is treating a neck injury “hell yes.”
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Bragging rights and momentum were on the line at the show’s conclusion Friday night, the Beat the Clock I Quit Challenge that pitted “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey against Shotzi and SmackDown champion Charlotte Flair against Aliyah.
Rossi set the bar at 1:41, forcing Schutze to take off with an ankle lock. The win made Rousey look like a dominant force but he continued the inexplicable underestimation of Schutze, who should really be put in a position to take advantage of the show rather than occasionally stepping out of obscurity to take a beating. It has too great an advantage to get lost the way it has.
Alia, on the other hand, showed courage as she ticked the clock, refusing to take advantage of Flair’s Figure Eight. As a result, Rousey won the competition, bragging about her rights to enter the premium live event on May 8.
The whole ordeal was good enough for what it was, but, like much of the feud, none of it made fans care more or less about the vendetta that exists between hero and challenger. It was a clip that exists just for the sake of it or, at most, to continue Drew Gulak’s weekly humiliation.
The Special Time Officer was beaten and left lying by Flair to close the show, begging the question: Why did WWE suddenly and so prominently introduce Gulak to the extent that he did? Can he realize the score at WrestleMania Backlash or is this just to give Rousey and Flair a treat puppet that isn’t each other?
All signs point to the latter, which is really unfortunate considering the talent of a professional wrestler.
The most important moments
- Cole and McAfee reminded the crowd of Alia’s shortest-ever historic win over Natalia a few months ago before they pinned her success in timed matches.
- Flair blew Gulak over the head with the timekeeper’s bell to end the show.
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