Here we go!
ALICIA FOX vs. SASHA BANKS
Good Booking: Sasha Banks goes over
This one wasn’t really a question. Between these two talents, one of them is a stepping stone and the other still a credible challenger for the title. Sasha Banks’ inability to have a successful title defense is also disappointing yet intriguing story that WWE Creative can take advantage of for a feel good moment. As for Alicia Fox, her crazy gimmick is still semi-entertaining. But too much too often will make it grating.
ASUKA vs. EMMA
Good Booking: Asuka’s debut opens the night.
It’s no surprise to have one of the perceived stronger matches open the main card. But to open the card with Asuka’s debut was a move of genius. The crowd immediately caught fire for this moment. And despite the perceived stigma of being paired with Emma, Creative could not have given Asuka a better opponent. Speaking of Emma…
Good Booking: Emma isn’t squashed.
Many expected Emma to be squashed. To the benefit of everyone, she wasn’t. In fact, Emma put in probably the best performance of her WWE career. Always underutilized and underrated, Emma proved to everyone tonight that she is more than deserving of getting an opportunity. Hopefully this will allow Emma to stay in the competitive hunt.
TAG-TEAM MATCH: THE BRIAN KENDRICK & “GENTLEMAN” JACK GALLAGHER vs. CEDRIC ALEXANDER & RICH SWANN
Good Booking: Jack Gallagher gets a new entrance song.
A very minor detail, but one that was necessary in order to buy into Gallagher’s heel turn. A grimmer, serious song excellently plays up the contrast between Gallagher’s demeanor.
Good Booking: Alexander and Swann go over.
A win for Alexander and Swann will do wonders for both men. Swann has been on a roll after defeating TJP in a 2-out-of-3 falls and Alexander is gaining momentum from his standout performances. Depending on who leaves the feud as the cruiserweight champion, Swann or Alexander can be the ones to challenge. Or if WWE wants to reinforce the tag-team division, Alexander and Swann could be an intriguing fit.
RAW WOMEN’S TITLE: ALEXA BLISS (c) vs. MICKIE JAMES
Good Booking: Bliss retains.
Bliss retaining the title was a necessary booking option to go forward with. James is a worthy opponent, but in the end, she was never meant to be the one to dethrone Bliss. That spot is reserved for either a returning Nia Jax or the more popular choice of Asuka. Until that happens, count on Bliss to hold on to the title.
Good Booking: James is allowed to pour her heart out.
Mickie James will be in the Hall of Fame down the line. She even might tie or perhaps pass Trish Stratus’ reign record. But tonight was not that night. It’s a good bet that this run for James will be her last run before retirement. So it feels as though her eventual title win and/or title loss will be an emotional sendoff for her. But for now, her performance allowed her to remain a credible and real title contender.
CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE: KALISTO (c) vs. ENZO AMORE
(Hesitantly) Good Booking: Enzo regains the title.
Kalisto’s title win served to be a feel good moment, especially on the birthday of Eddie Guerrero. But it felt that Enzo wouldn’t be without the title for too long. Amore regaining the title sets up a little intrigue and a little confusion. Does the no-contact, no title match clause still have any effect since this is a new title reign? Whatever the case, with Enzo at the helm once again, count on people tuning in to see what happens to him next. It’s a shame that Neville isn’t around though.
AJ STYLES vs. “THE DEMON” FINN BALOR
Good Booking: Everything.
I hope this wasn’t a one night only situation. Match of the night. Bullet Club leader versus Bullet Club leader. Balor sporting the demonic red of RAW and AJ Styles sporting the phenomenal blue of Smackdown Live. Unfortunately for Bray Wyatt, this match was always going to be lightyears better than what the already doomed Sister Abigail could’ve brought.
ELIAS vs. JASON JORDAN
Bad Booking: This match.
Elias’ attempts to play being thwarted by a vegetable throwing Jason Jordan was silly and unfunny. The match was an uninspired affair and only served to get Elias heat and Jordan some ring time. Though Elias played his part, the gutsy performances that made Jordan so likable has noticeably faded. And with little to no story to tell, Jordan was left dead in the water and Elias with a loss on his record that he didn’t need.
5-on-3 HANDICAP TABLES, LADDERS, & CHAIRS: THE MIZ, THE BAR (SHEAMUS & CESARO), BRAUN STROWMAN, & KANE vs. THE SHIELD (SETH ROLLINS & DEAN AMBROSE) & KURT ANGLE
Good Booking: Strowman cannot coexist.
Strowman was eventually going to be the wildcard of the five man team. Though Strowman has clashed with each Shield member, he has never played nice with being on a team. This continuity was the right call and the factor that allowed The Shield and Kurt Angle to pick up the victory and preserve The Shield’s dominance. It’s interesting to see where Strowman goes from here. Undoubtedly he goes after Kane, which may lead to many, many rumors of The Undertaker coming back for Strowman. Or he goes after The Miz and his Intercontinental title. Either way, Strowman stands alone, as he should.
Good Booking: The Shield find a way.
This booking was never really in question. Somehow, some way, The Shield always seem to find a way. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if the way The Shield ends is internal. But I digress. The Shield winning was the only way to keep the momentum going for each member. Especially for Ambrose who desperately needed a catalyst. Now that we’ve made it past this daunting obstacle, it’s intriguing to see how far The Shield goes.
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