ROMAN REIGNS RETAINS THE TITLE…
Recap: The show opened with Roman Reigns coming to the ring. A video package aired showing a recap of Brock Lesnar’s interference in the Hell in a Cell main event. Reigns said that he’d be happy to give Brock Lesnar his title rematch, and called him to the ring.
Instead of Brock Lesnar, Braun Strowman came to the ring. Bruan said Roman should be happy for Brock’s interference on Sunday, as without it Braun would be champion. He said that he deserved first crack at Brock, and that after taking out Brock, he’d be coming after Roman.
Baron Corbin then came to the ring, and announced a Triple Threat for the title at the Crown Jewel PPV from Riyadh on November 2.
After Braun yelling for a while about how everyone and everything sucked, Paul Heyman came to the ring accompanied by men carrying the bent door from last night’s main event. He proceeded to explain Brock-o-nomics, whereby Lesnar elevating his WWE status as champion makes him a bigger star, allowing him to get a larger contract from UFC.
Back in the ring, Roman grabbed the mic from Baron Corbin. Corbin took the mic back and after reviewing Roman’s injuries from last night, informed Reigns that he would only be in the Triple Threat if he were still champion. Corbin said that may be in doubt since Roman would be defending his title against Corbin himself tonight.
In a backstage segment, Charly Caruso asked Roman if he was an underdog tonight due to his injuries. Roman responded that while he may be an underdog against Braun Strowman or Brock Lesnar, against Baron Corbin he was simply the Big Dog.
In another backstage segment, Braun told Baron Corbin that he hoped he’d win, as since Baron Corbin sucks, Braun knew he could definitely defeat Corbin for the title.
Before the match, Corbin reminded a nervous referee that he had control over his livelihood before telling the referee to call the match “down the middle.” He also forced the referee to address him as “acting general manager.”
The match itself was the main event. Corbin was disqualified for throwing a chair at Roman, but used his GM position to restart the match as a no-DQ match. After the restart, pandemonium broke out, as Braun, Drew, Dolph, Seth, and Dean all interfered. Roman eventually won with the spear.
Evaluation: Roman’s backstage promo burying Corbin and contrasting his status with that of Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar made it clear that WWE doesn’t view him nearly as highly as when his main roster career began. He was portrayed as a joke not even near the main event level.
Having Heyman explain that Lesnar wanted the Universal Title only to increase his negotiating leverage with UFC was a very logical way to explain why he was back while getting heat.
Tonight’s match interference was a way to have all six competitors for the Australia 6-man tag match tangle with each other without giving away too much. It worked.
Forecast: Like the Greatest Royal Rumble, I expect the Australia show to be mostly treated as a house show. Having The Shield face the Drew, Dolph, and Braun with nothing on the line would seem to reinforce that prediction.
SETH RETAINS THE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE…
Recap: After Drew McIntyre defeated Dean Ambrose in a singles match, Dolph Ziggler congratulated him backstage. Baron Corbin then appeared stating that it was “one down, two to go” tonight with the Shield. He encouraged Dolph to invoke his rematch clause tonight. Dolph was skeptical due to being injured after falling from the cell Sunday night. Corbin told Dolph that Seth was hurt even worse, and that Seth wasn’t even in the arena. Corbin assured Dolph that if Seth couldn’t go tonight, he’d strip Seth of the title via forfeit and declare Dolph the champion. With that information, Dolph agreed to invoke his rematch.
Later backstage, it was revealed that Seth had arrived at the arena. Corbin reassured Dolph that Seth was still more injured than him. Mid-conversation, Seth entered the locker room and asked if Dolph was attempting to back out of the match. Dolph said that he wasn’t, but that nobody would blame Seth if Seth backed out. Seth agreed, but said there was no way he’d back out nonetheless.
During a back and forth match, Rollins secured victory. Dolph escaped the Falcon Arrow after a Rollins Superplex, however Seth escaped the resulting cradle and won with a Curb Stomp.
Evaluation: This didn’t do a ton to advance the storyline between The Shield and the “Dogs of War,” but it did get Dolph’s rematch out of the way in logical fashion. I can’t find fault with it.
Forecast: We’ve seen Rollins vs. Ziggler for the Intercontinental title many times now, and while the matches have been good, it’s time to put that matchup to bed for a while.
KANE TO CORNER THE UNDERTAKER IN AUSTRALIA…
Recap: At the top of the second hour, Undertaker came to the ring. He gave a long promo. He said that no one can spin a web of lies like a man with a broken soul, and that nobody had a more broken soul than Triple H. He recounted Triple H’s transition from “wicked warrior” in the ring to a “more corporate Game.” He said that Shawn Michaels wouldn’t be traveling all the way to Australia to simply sit in the stands; he’d be in Triple H’s corner. Undertaker revealed that he was okay with that, as Kane would be in his corner.
Evaluation: WWE has done a really good job of building this match each week with promo segments like this. Each segment as added a new emotional layer and/or twist to the upcoming match. Tonight was no exception in revealing Kane as Undertaker’s corner man.
Forecast: I don’t see WWE giving away an Undertaker loss to a mostly retired wrestler, so I would expect Undertaker to win next month. Kane and Shawn Michaels will likely be involved during the match, as Michaels’ involvement will likely be used to set up an Undertaker-Michaels matchup in Riyadh in November.
I want to be excited about Chad Gable looking good tonight, but after him looking good so many times in the past with no payoff, I’m pessimistic….
NOW CHECK OUT LAST WEEK’S COLUMN: TOP 3 DEVELOPMENTS – RAW 9/10: Roman Gets the Upper Hand, More Build for Triple H vs Taker, Kevin Owens Reboot