The following is the latest in a new series of weekly in-depth articles exclusive to PWTorch which will help put in perspective major wrestling promotions with a weekly overview, looking at news and roster developments, results, future line-ups, social media activity, key interviews, plus a timely commentary at the end. We will be featuring similar features on other promotions each week and each will be updated weekly.
•Top Stories of the Week
- Becky Lynch, Kofi Kingston, Seth Rollins, Finn Balor, The IIconics, Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder, and Tony Nese all won championships at WrestleMania.
- WWE announced over the weekend that they have officially signed Kushida. They announced this with a press conference and contract signing with Kushida, Triple H, and William Regal. Kushida was previously in New Japan. He is signed to an NXT deal.
- Lars Sullivan debuted, Sami Zayn made his return, and The Undertaker appeared to interrupt Elias on Raw this week. Lars and Zayn would also appear on Smackdown.
- The Hardy Boyz beat The Usos on Smackdown to win the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
•WWE TV Match Results
WrestleMania Results 4/7/19
(1) Tony Nese defeated Buddy Murphy to win the Cruiserweight Championship
(2) Carmella won the Women’s Battle Royal by eliminating Sarah Logan last
(3) Curt Hawkins & Zack Ryder beat The Revival to win the Raw Tag Team Championships
(4) Braun Strowman won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal by eliminated Colin Jost & Michael Che (from S.N.L.) last
(1) Seth Rollins pinned Brock Lesnar to win the Universal Championship after a low blow and three Stomps
(2) A.J. Styles beat Randy Orton with a Phenomenal Forearm
(3) The Usos (c) beat The Bar, Ricochet & Aleister Black, and Shinsuke Nakamura & Rusev (w/ Lana) to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championships when The Usos pinned Sheamus after a double Frog Splash
(4) Shane McMahon beat The Miz after The Miz suplexed Shane off of a camera scaffolding and into a crash pad. Shane was partially on top of The Miz and the ref counted the pinfall while the two remained motionless.
(5) The IIconics defeated Bayley & Sasha, Natalya & Beth Phoenix, and Nia Jax & Tamina to win the Women’s Tag Team Championships when Billie Kay pinned Bayley after Bayley suffered a Beth Phoenix Glam Slam from the second rope, only to be thrown out by Peyton Royce allowing Kay to make the cover.
(6) Kofi Kingston beat Daniel Bryan to win the WWE Championship with a Trouble in Paradise kick
(7) Samoa Joe (c) beat Rey Mysterio quickly with the Coquina Clutch to retain the United States Championship
(8) Roman Reigns beat Drew McIntyre with a Spear
(9) Triple H pinned Batista after Ric Flair appeared and gave Triple H a sledgehammer to hit Batista with before giving him a final Pedigree for the fall
(10) Baron Corbin beat Kurt Angle with the End of Days
(11) “The Demon” Finn Balor beat Bobby Lashley (w/ Lio Rush) to win the Intercontinental Championship
(12) Becky Lynch beat Ronda Rousey & Charlotte to win the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championships
Monday Night Raw TV Results 4/8/19
(1) Zack Ryder & Curt Hawkins beat The Revival to retain the Raw Tag Team Championships
(2) Alexa Bliss defeated Bayley
(3) Ricochet & Aleister Black beat Bobby Roode & Chad Gable
(4) Finn Balor beat Sami Zayn to retain the Intercontinental Championship
(5) Seth Rollins vs. Kofi Kingston in a “Winner Take All” Championship match ends in a No Contest after The Bar attacked them both
(6) Seth Rollins & Kofi Kingston defeated The Bar
Smackdown Live TV Results 4/9/19
(1) Mustafa Ali, Ricochet, & Aleister Black beat Andrade (w/ Zelina Vega), Shinsuke Nakamura, & Rusev (w/ Lana) when Ali pinned Andrade
(2) The IIconics (c) defeated The Brooklyn Belles (Kristen & Karissa) to retain the Women’s Tag Team Championships
(3) The Hardy Boyz beat The Usos to win the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
(4) The New Day defeated The Bar & Drew McIntyre
205 Live Results (Aired on WWE Network) 4/9/19
(1) Humberto Carillo defeated Jack Gallagher via Disqualification when Drew Gulak interfered
(2) Tony Nese (c) beat Buddy Murphy to retain the Cruiserweight Championship
WWE Main Event (Aired on Hulu and WWE Network) 4/11/19
(1) Jinder Mahal beat No Way Jose
(2) Heavy Machinery defeated The Ascension
Mon. 4/15/19 WWE Raw, Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Tue. 4/16/19 WWE Smackdown, Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Fri. 4/19/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Enterprise Center, St. Louis, Mo.
Sat. 4/20/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wis.
Sat. 4/20/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Bank of Springfield Center, Springfield, Ill.
Sun. 4/21/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Mayo Civic Center, Rochester, Minn.
Sun. 4/21/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Tax Slayer Center, Moline, Ill.
Mon. 4/22/19 WWE Raw, Wells Fargo Center, Des Moines, Iowa
Mon. 4/22/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Sioux City, Iowa
Tue. 4/23/19 WWE Smackdown, Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln, Neb.
Mon. 4/29/19 WWE Raw, Rupp Arena, Lexington, Ky.
Mon. 3/29/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Big Sandy Superstore Arena, Huntington, W.Va.
Tue. 4/30/19 WWE Smackdown, Schottenstein Center, Columbus, Ohio
Sun. 5/5/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Ford Center Evansville, Evansville, Ind.
Mon. 5/6/19 WWE Raw, U.S. Bank Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio
Mon. 5/6/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, The Corbin Arena, Corbin, Ky.
Tue. 5/7/19 WWE Smackdown – KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, Ky.
Wed. 5/8/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, SSE Arena, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Thur. 5/9/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, 3Arena, Dublin, Ireland
Thur. 5/9/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Forest National, Brussels, Belgium
Fri. 5/10/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Helsinki Ice Hall, Helsinki, Finland
Fri. 5/10/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Arena Du Pays D’Aix, Aix-en-Province, France
Sat. 5/11/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Hovet, Stockholm, Sweden
Sat. 5/11/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Utilita Arena, Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Sun. 5/12/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Oslo Spektrum, Oslo, Norway
Sun. 5/12/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool, England
Mon. 5/13/19 WWE Raw, The O2, London, England
Mon. 5/13/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Bournemouth International Centre, Bournemouth, England
Tue. 5/14/19 WWE Smackdown, The O2, London, England
Tue. 5/14/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Accorhotels Arena, Paris, France
Wed. 5/15/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Resorts World Arena, Birmingham, England
Wed. 5/15/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Getec Arena, Magdeburg, Germany
Thur. 5/16/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Flydsa Arena, Sheffield, England
Thur. 5/16/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Barclaycard Arena, Hamburg, Germany
Fri. 5/17/19 WWE Live Event – Raw Roster, Cardiff Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff, Wales
Fri. 5/17/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin, Germany
Sun. 5/19/19 WWE Money in the Bank, XL Center, Hartford, Conn.
Mon. 5/20/19 WWE Raw, Times Union Center, Albany, N.Y.
Mon. 5/20/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Tsongas Center, Lowell, Mass.
Tue. 5/21/19 WWE Smackdown, Dunkin’ Donuts Center, Providence, R.I.
Mon. 5/27/19 WWE Raw, Sprint Center, Kansas City, Mo.
Mon. 5/27/19 WWE Live Event – Smackdown Roster, Tony’s Pizza Events Center, Salina, Kan.
Tue. 5/28/19 WWE Smackdown, Bok Center, Tulsa, Okla.
•Latest TV Highlights
Monday Night Raw
- Seth and Kofi Kingston both agree to a Winner Take All match, which got ruined by The Bar. Seth Rollins opened the show to talk about winning the Universal Championship. He was interrupted by The New Day. Kofi challenged Seth to a title vs. title match, which Seth accepted. In the main event, Seth and Kofi wrestled for a couple minutes before The Bar attacked them both. Seth grabbed a microphone, told Kofi that they can finish that match later, but right now he wants to team up to take on The Bar. Seth and Kofi would eventually win that match, but the crowd was not pleased with this turn of events. Multiple AEW and CM Punk chants could be heard in protest.
- Sami Zayn made his return to television on Raw. He made his entrance and offered to wrestle anyone on the roster. After a delay, Finn Balor’s music hit and out came the Intercontinental Champion. Right before the match began, the ring announcer said that this was now an Intercontinental Championship match. Finn Balor would eventually win the match with the Coup de Grace. After the match, Zayn grabbed a microphone and said that it genuinely seems that the fans missed him. The fans chanted for him until Zayn finally said that he didn’t miss any of this or any of the fans. He continued saying that WWE is super toxic environment and it isn’t because of the McMahons or the rest of the roster, it’s because of the fans. He said he lives a very meaningful and fulfilled life, but it’s obvious the fans lives seem empty and devoid of any kind of meaning, so the only joy they get is from being critics rather than enjoying the show. He said he didn’t come back to WWE to “save WWE or take WWE” but he came back to do is come out there every single week and hold them accountable because nobody else will. He then left as the crowd booed with some scattered cheers as well.
- Braun Strowman and Samoa Joe go face to face on Smackdown. R-Truth and Carmella were cutting a promo in the ring, Samoa Joe’s music hit to interrupt. Joe marched down to the ring, fought R-Truth for a moment before putting him in the Coquina Clutch. Joe then grabbed a microphone, bragged about beating Rey Mysterio in under one minute at WrestleMania, then threatened the rest of the locker room by saying he might take less time to beat up any other Superstar. Braun Strowman’s music then played, he charged into the ring and attacked Joe. After a moment of fighting, Joe attempted to lock in the Coquina Clutch, but Strowman escaped. Joe then avoided a slam by Strowman and left the ring.
- Drew McIntyre also appeared on Smackdown instead of Raw this week. McIntyre would team up with The Bar in a match against The New Day. At the start of the night, The New Day came out to the ring to celebrate Kofi’s win at WrestleMania. The Bar interrupted and told Kofi he should thank them for saving his WWE Championship when they interrupted the match vs. Seth on Raw. Eventually they challenged The New Day to a six-man tag match, Big E accepted, but noted that they clearly can’t count since there are only two of them. The Bar said that they made a new friend when they went to Raw and out came Drew McIntyre. In the main event, McIntyre disappeared mid-match, but it wasn’t noted on commentary. Since it wasn’t acknowledged, it didn’t seem like an angle and he may have suffered an injury, although nothing in the match stood out as a place where he would’ve been injured. The New Day would eventually win the match and Kofi’s family would get in the ring to celebrate with him to end the show.
- The IIconics had their first defense of the Women’s Tag Team Championships. They took on two independent wrestlers that they called the Brooklyn Belles. The IIconics would win the match, but afterwards Paige was shown backstage watching the match when Kayla Braxton asked her what brought her to Smackdown this week. Paige said with the Superstar Shake-Up happening next week, she wanted to get a look at the Women’s Tag Team Champions. She then noted she’d be bringing in an impressive tag team of her own next week.
•WWE in the Media
– Batista was on with Lilian Garcia this week. This interview was recorded ahead of his WrestleMania match. Batista starts talking about that match with Triple H, noting that they’re both so busy they didn’t have much time to meet and talk about their WrestleMania match. He said they did get together a few times down in Orlando to talk about what they wanted to do, but mostly about the match psychology. Batista also says that Michael Hayes was the producer for their match and the two of them met with him once before WrestleMania. He also says that he and Triple H didn’t touch at all to practice prior to the WrestleMania match, but he did wrestle with people at the WWE Performance Center to help him get ready. Batista credits Triple H with making him a star in WWE, letting Batista beat him three times, he also said he learned a lot from Triple H by riding with him when they travelled. Because of all Triple H did for him, Batista thought letting Triple H beat him was the best way for him to say thank you for everything. Batista said he’s very old school in that way, he believes people should go out “on their back” allowing someone to beat them.
Batista confirms that Smackdown 1000 was the launching point for this feud and he said he’s taking the credit for it because he talked to Vince and said he wanted to gauge interest in a match between himself and Triple H and that’s why they teased the match at Smackdown 1000. When he left the building that night, the match was on the books, but Triple H tearing his pec derailed that plan, but about a month after Triple H tore his pec, he called Batista and said the WrestleMania match is back on if Batista wanted and he jumped at the opportunity. He also credits Triple H because he was only cleared to start lifting weights again a few weeks ago, so the match was close to not happening.
Batista says there are quite a few people in Hollywood questioning why he’d want to return to wrestling, but Batista says he’s returning because he loves it and didn’t feel like he had closure on his wrestling career. He said when he last left, it felt like he didn’t have closure and compared it to someone passing away and the last conversation you had with that person was an argument, so you never get that closure with them.
They then move on to talk about Batista’s acting career and personal life. He talks about how he struggles to play a comedy role because he feels he has to try to be funny, but in a more dramatic scene, he has real life to draw from so that’s much easier for him. He then starts talking about how he was arrested a few times as a kid, but his mom saved him from that lifestyle. Batista says his mom and ex-wife Angie will also be there. He says that Angie was with him and helped him start this wrestling journey, but ironically that’s what drove them apart. He says it was important for her to be there to see him finish his career too. Batista then talks about his recent divorce to his third wife, he didn’t say much simply saying that they grew apart and had different views of what a marriage should be. Batista then compares his acting career to John Cena and The Rock, and says someone once told him that they could see him playing The Rock’s role in Fast and the Furious, but they couldn’t see The Rock playing Batista’s role in a movie like Blade Runner 2049 and that’s stuck with him as his legacy as a crossover wrestler/actor.
Batista then talked about the go-home Monday Night Raw heading into WrestleMania, which was in his hometown of Washington D.C. He said he talked a lot with Vince about what their plans were for the build because he didn’t want to be on TV every week “saying the same regurgitated shit every week” and he didn’t want to go through that. He told Vince he really didn’t want to be on that final Raw in Washington D.C. because he didn’t want the hometown support and love heading into WrestleMania and as a heel he didn’t want to take away from Triple H as the face in their matchup. When Vince asked him to come, he said no, but Vince said all he wanted him to do was come out, throw to a video package and just say “Hunter, kiss my ass” and that’s it. Batista said when he got done laughing at how great it was, he said he would do it. He also acknowledged that the cameras wouldn’t catch him high fiving all the kids in the crowd as he left because he couldn’t resist it since it was his last time in his hometown.
At the end of the interview, Batista said that Vince talked to him a few years ago about the Hall of Fame, saying he definitely will get in and that Vince wanted to put him in a few years ago, but Batista really wanted that closure. Now that he has that closure, Batista said he thinks he may go in next year or maybe the year after that.
You can listen to the interview at HERE and the interview starts at 6:30.
•Listen to the latest Wade Keller Pro Wrestling Post-Show – Smackdown Post-Show
PWTorch editor Wade Keller is joined by Jason Solomon from the Solomonster Sounds Off podcast to discuss the post-WrestleMania edition of WWE Smackdown with live callers first, then an on-site correspondent from Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (PWTorch.com’s own Frank Petiani), followed by a mailbag segment. They talk about Kofi Kingston’s celebration, Becky Lynch’s celebration and angle with Lacey Evans, the visits from various Raw wrestlers, Shane McMahon’s bullying of the poor ring announcer,…
•WWE Social Media Highlights
Want to see how little WWE cares about Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows? They don’t even know which one is which…
Xavier Woods stands up for Tyler Breeze and says he’d welcome him with open arms on Smackdown
— Austin Creed (@XavierWoodsPhD) April 7, 2019
Woods and Breeze shared a video of them singing along to Batista’s entrance song while he practiced his WrestleMania entrance.
— Austin Creed (@XavierWoodsPhD) April 9, 2019
Batista announced that he is officially retiring from wrestling after his WrestleMania match with Triple H.
Randy Orton and A.J. Styles both made comments on social media regarding the lighting issues during their match at WrestleMania.
I was so disappointed that u guys didn’t get to see a fantastic match at MetLife Stadium. https://t.co/yTCG9Hbxvc
— AJStyles.Org (@AJStylesOrg) April 9, 2019
Mick Foley wasn’t pleased that Kurt Angle lost his final match against Baron Corbin.
— Mick Foley (@RealMickFoley) April 8, 2019
Stephanie McMahon is out here publicly recruiting Conor McGregor
— Stephanie McMahon (@StephMcMahon) April 8, 2019
Just because Becky won, it doesn’t mean her Twitter trash talk slows down. The target just changes now.
Ronda broke her hand punching the face that she said broke too easy. pic.twitter.com/vZM2w39k9I
— The Man (@BeckyLynchWWE) April 8, 2019
Kofi Kingston’s message after winning Sunday:
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you all.
Without your love & support, especially over the past couple months, none of this happens. You helped me achieve my childhood dream & I’m eternally grateful for each & every one of you.
Your WWE World Heavyweight Champion
— KOFI (@TrueKofi) April 8, 2019
– I know this isn’t a hot take, and I don’t have as much room to complain as others, but WrestleMania is too darn long and something needs to change. To me, there are two issues here, both of which need resolving. The first problem is just the overall length of the show being insanely long, and the second problem is how late into the night the show goes.
So, let’s dissect the problem first. This WrestleMania went until 12:30 AM Eastern. I know it was even later for others, but since the show was in New York, let’s use that time because it impacted 80,000+ in attendance as well as a portion of the television audience. Since the show went so late, people had serious issues leaving the stadium because the public transportation systems don’t run at full capacity that late at night. It’s never necessary. Even a Super Bowl in that same stadium ends before midnight. Regardless of what people think, WWE is completely to blame for this. They’ve run in this market before, they know the public transportation system, and they chose to ignore it by having the show run deep into the night, which is entirely in their control. People on Twitter were claiming that they were stranded at Metlife Stadium for 3+ hours AFTER WrestleMania ended, and that’s amazing and unacceptable.
If we look at the main card, we had 12 matches of various lengths. Samoa Joe & Rey Mysterio’s match was about one minute long, the longest match was a tie between the Becky/Ronda/Charlotte match and the Triple H/Batista match both at around 25 minutes (the Kofi Kingston Daniel Bryan match was close at about 24 minutes long). The average match length was around 12 minutes and 22 seconds and the total time wrestling from bell to bell was 2 hours and 28 minutes. So, on a show that was five and a half hours (not counting the two hour pre-show) we had 2 and a half hours of actual wrestling. That means three hours of the show included video packages, backstage segments, and entrances.
So, there are a couple of obvious solutions to fix this. The first is shortening the show by cutting down on the number of matches, shortening the length of matches themselves, or cutting down on video packages. All three are reasonable answers, but I think shortening the length of the matches themselves is the worst of the three options here. Some matches deserve to have more time to tell a story. Becky/Ronda/Charlotte used the time well. Kofi and Daniel Bryan also used the time well, so cutting the length of matches isn’t a good solution. Some matches definitely do not deserve the time given, though (I’m talking about you, Triple H). So, cutting down on match length isn’t a solid solution because sometimes long matches can be great. However, I do think cutting down on the number of matches on the show would be extremely helpful. Twelve matches is just too many, and not every match needs a four to five minute video package.
Okay, so another solution to the problem of how late the show runs is to just start the show earlier in the day. If you want to go six or seven hours including kickoff show, start earlier so people aren’t up all night to finish the show live. This would mean more matches are happening in sunlight if you have the show at an outdoor stadium, but they’ve run on the west coast of the United States where half the show is in the sunlight because the 7:00 PM Eastern main card start time is actually 4:00 PM West Coast time. On top of that, all major professional sports leagues have games/contests that start early on Sundays. The NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, Indy Car, etc. all have games/races that start at noon or 1:00 PM Eastern.
So, the third idea that’s being thrown around is making WrestleMania a two-day event So, what are the benefits for WWE? Well, they’d sell twice as many tickets, which means more money in ticket sales. The price of an individual ticket may drop slightly, but you’d make up for it in having a second day of tickets to sell. Splitting the event would also allow you to get everyone on the card without having the show go all night. So, what are the benefits for fans? Ideally, you would get two shows of three and a half hours or so, including a kickoff show, on back to back nights instead of putting in a full work day of watching wrestling, so that would help with the larger television audience.
There are some negatives to this plan, though. For WWE, you’d have to reschedule all of your other events. The events impacted would be NXT Takeover and the Hall of Fame. Raw and Smackdown won’t be moved, so you’d have Saturday and Sunday to fit in four events (don’t forget Smackdown is moving to Fridays this fall). So, do you have a Saturday afternoon NXT show, then WrestleMania Night 1 starting Saturday evening? Then you’d have Sunday for the Hall of Fame in the afternoon and WrestleMania Night 2 Sunday evening. I guess the other option would be to have the Hall of Fame on Tuesday night after Raw as the closing event, but I think attendance would suffer if that was their decision. There are two glaring negatives for fans that came to mind immediately. The first issue is fans having to spend more money if they want to go to both nights of WrestleMania. If you don’t have the money to go to both, you’d be forced to choose which half of the card to go see, which isn’t ideal or fan-friendly. The other issue is, I don’t trust WWE to stay disciplined and keep each night short. I can see WWE splitting WrestleMania into two nights, then having both nights go five hours each night.
Honestly, the easiest solution is WWE just being more disciplined. There is no need to get everyone on the WrestleMania card, and there’s no reason to have a dozen matches on the main card. It’s overkill. They just need to show restraint and keep to a hard time limit and match number, and if it goes slightly over, fine, but seven hour shows aren’t enjoyable. I was so ready to be done with it, I turned off the television and went straight to bed as soon as the pinfall was counted in the Becky/Ronda/Charlotte match. If they want to make WrestleMania special, make it the longest show of the year, but cap it at five hours including a kickoff show. That’s still incredibly long, but if all other shows throughout the year stick to roughly three hours, fans will be forgiving of WrestleMania being longer. WrestleMania isn’t meant to be a parade of wrestlers, it should be an event where top feuds culminate, and WWE has gotten away from that. I know it gets said often, but so many of WWE’s problems would be fixed if they just had some discipline. If WWE continues to worry about the numbers they can brag about to stockholders instead of the fans that pay for the product, they’re going to suffer for it. That precious “hours of engagement” number that they love to tout is so short-sighted. If you continue to eat away at the goodwill of fans, that hours of engagement number will drop too because there won’t be as many people left watching.
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