SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
BECKY CHEERED AGAIN…
Recap: Renee Young interviewed Carmella backstage. She asked Carmella’s thoughts on the focus shifting away from her to Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. Carmella said that attention follows the title, and that she would regain her title in her rematch tonight. Carmella claimed the Evolution PPV was a result of her elevation of the entire women’s division.
After Carmella left, R-Truth came into the shot looking for Carmella. Tye Dillinger tried to again explain that pinning her was not the way to get his title shot. Truth misunderstood, thinking Tye was just telling him to bide his time and challenge Carmella at a better moment.
Later Renee interviewed Charlotte. Charlotte said that Becky thinks she deserves the title, but that no one deserves anything they haven’t won. She said she refused to apologize for her ambition and success.
In the main event, Carmella and Charlotte had a long back and forth match. Fans chanted for Becky Lynch throughout the early portions of the match. Charlotte eventually submitted Carmella with the Figure 8 to retain the title. After the match, Becky attacked Charlotte from behind. She then grabbed the mic, said she’d be taking the title at Hell in a Cell, and called Charlotte a bitch (with emphasis) before leaving. The fans cheered Becky. Before going off-air, the camera lingered on Charlotte looking angry, as the fans booed.
Evaluation: The R-Truth-Carmella gimmick was funny, but it’s now being overdone. WWE has a bad habit of beating jokes to death.
Charlotte’s promo came across as a little bit heelish. The line stating that no one deserves anything they hadn’t won wasn’t the right one for a face considering Becky was put into a Triple Threat with the odds against her, despite having previously earned a one-on-one title match with Carmella.
The match quality was an improvement from other Charlotte-Carmella encounters, but the fans never got into it, especially since they were all waiting for Becky.
It seemed that WWE felt having Becky call Charlotte a bitch to close the segment would be jarring enough to turn the fans against her. They guessed wrong.
It’s unclear what the fans were seeing on the Titantron while the television cameras were focused on Charlotte at the end of the match. If they were seeing the same shot of Charlotte that we were seeing at home, their boos were a very bad sign.
Forecast: This can’t be turned around. The fans are going to be totally behind Becky Lynch at Hell in a Cell no matter what WWE does, so the best move here is to change course and have Charlotte work heel while Becky works a “Stone Cold Becky” face angle.
KING BOOKER RETURNS…
Recap: The show opened with New Day coming to the ring. Big E said they were not one-time, not two-time, not three-time…, but before he got to five, Booker T came down the ramp as the King Booker character he took up after the 2006 King of the Ring.
He granted royal titles to Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods, but referred to Big E simply as Big E. Big E was upset at the perceived slight, but Booker informed him that “Big” was title enough. Big E accused Booker of going “full Saxton” on him. Booker then welcomed all three to the Five Timers Club.
Before leaving, Booker T did a spin-a-roonie, as did Xavier and Kofi. Big E attempted one, but got stuck on his back like a turtle. Kofi and Xavier grabbeld his legs to spin him.
New Day then had their own commentary table for a Triple Threat match between the Bar, Gallows and Anderson, and the Colons. The Bar won.
Later backstage, Paige revealed that due to Aiden English’s request, next week Rusev Day, Sanity, and the Usos would face off, with the winner facing the Bar to become Number One Contender for the tag titles. Rusev looked pleased with English.
Evaluation: The return of King Booker was fun, and fitting considering New Day’s fifth title run. The fans liked it.
The New Day’s commentary wasn’t very good, but the audio didn’t cut to them often, so there wasn’t a ton to complain about.
Forecast: It seems WWE realized that a Rusev Day breakup is a net negative for both Rusev and English, so they’ve changed course. This is a positive move.
The Bar were by far the strongest tag team booked in the Triple Threat, so their winning was predictable. Next week is more up in the air, with three stronger teams. Considering Sanity hasn’t been booked well since coming up from NXT, I would not expect them to win. A Rusev Day victory would further solidify their reunion, so it would seem to make the most sense.
THE MIZANINS TAKE OUT THE BRYANS…
Recap: At the top of the second hour, Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella came to the ring. Bryan said that just as Miz was acting during his faux retirement promo last week, he is acting all the time, and he isn’t a very good actor. He recapped Miz’s cowardice in using his wife as a shield last week, and recounted Brie’s punch to the Miz. Bryan said Brie taking out Miz with the punch was hot.
They were interrupted by Andrade “Cien” Almas and Zelina Vega. Vega said it was an honor to be near two legends: Almas and Brie (a shot at Bryan). Zelina challenged Bryan to wrestle Almas. Bryan accepted, but said since he’s no longer GM, he needed someone to come out and make the match official. After a long pause, no one came, to Bryan’s chagrin. Finally, Paige appeared, looking out of breath. She said that her office was across the arena, so she needed a minute. She then made the match official.
As Almas and Bryan fought, Miz and Maryse watched backstage. At one point, Maryse whispered something to Miz, and the two disappeared.
Miz’s music then played in the arena, distracting Bryan and allowing Almas to get the advantage. Bryan did eventually recover to get the Yes Lock on Almas, but released it when Maryse through Brie into the ring post. Miz then attacked Bryan from behind, ending the match in DQ.
Evaluation: The Bellas have been booed fairly consistently, but standing next to Daniel Bryan at least seems to move Brie’s fan reaction from boos to mild polite clapping. That’s a better result than the alternative where her presence dampens fan enthusiasm for Bryan.
The strategy of having Almas come out and challenge established superstars and delivering solid matches is a good one. It seems he is slowly building main roster credibility. He was also somewhat protected tonight by being disqualified before submitting.
Forecast: Fans like the Miz-Bryan feud, but the addition of the wives is at best neutral and at worst a net negative. Brie Bella in particular risks dampening some of Bryan’s face reactions, although that hasn’t happened yet. Hopefully this feud gets through Hell in a Cell still hot, and after that it can resume with one more one-on-one match between Miz and Bryan.
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: TOP 3 DEVELOPMENTS – SMACKDOWN 8/21: Mixed Tag Set for HIAC, Everyone Loves Angry Becky, New Day New Tag Champs