KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (11/14)
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KELLER’S WWE RAW REPORT
JULY 8, 2019
NEWARK, N.J. AT PRUDENTIAL CENTER
AIRED ON USA NETWORK
Announcers: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Renee Young
-They opened with a wide shot of the arena and Cole introducing the show. The graphic said they were in Newark, N.J., but Cole did not. He said “Extreme Rules on WWE Network” is looming this Sunday. Then they promptly went to Becky Lynch’s ring entrance as Cole plugged Roman Reigns & a mystery partner of Shane McMahon’s choosing takes on Shane & Drew McIntyre. Renee said Rey Mysterio is back and has issued an open challenge. Graves plugged Ricochet vs. Luke Gallows.
(Keller’s Analysis: Let’s not lose sight of how ludicrous it is that Shane McMahon gets to pick Reigns’s partner and it’s announced as if it’s totally normal and not outlandish. “The New England Patriots are playing the Dallas Cowboys, and the Patriots get to choose who plays quarterback for the Cowboys.” And nobody blinks.)
(1) BECKY LYNCH & SETH ROLLINS vs. ANDRADE & ZELINA VEGA – Elimination Rules
Cole called Zelina “spunky.” During a early “Let’s Go Becky!” chant, Graves said, “I haven’t heard Newark this loud since they were offering discounts on bail bonds.” After Zelina and Becky battled, Seth and Andrade battled. Seth clotheslined Andrade to the floor and then dove at him twice at ringside. Meanwhile, Becky took it to Zelina with a flurry of offense and eliminated her with a Disarmer for a quick tapout. Cole said the match will continue as Seth vs. Andrade. They showed Lacey Evans had shown up at ringside. Becky went after her at ringside. Seth pulled her away and they cut to a break. [c]
(Keller’s Analysis: So what’s the advantage to winning the first fall, so to speak? Becky can’t tag in anymore because there’s no woman to wrestle, so by eliminating Zelina, she eliminated herself, right? There are times when Raw is so poorly presented you almost think it’s intentional self-sabotage because there’s just no way something this nonsensical should make it through the layers of decision-makers in creative.)
Back live, the match continued with Becky and Zelina at ringside cheering on their partners. Becky stayed on the ring apron, in fact, despite not having a legal path to get involved in the match anymore. Andrade did the double stomp off the top rope, and Seth was nice enough to hold himself up in perfect position to get stomped in the chest. Seth came back and landed a Falcon Arrow for a near fall. Then he hit a flying high knee for a two count. When Zelina attacked Seth at ringside driving his head into the floor with a head scissors, Becky went after her. When Andrade yanked Becky off of Zelina by her leg, Seth grabbed him and shoved him away. Andrade charged, but Becky pulled Seth out of Andrade’s path and then got knocked over. Seth leaned over to check on her. Andrade then hit Seth from behind and threw him into the ringside barricade. Andrade landed a running knee in the corner for a near fall. When Zelina dove at Seth at ringside again, Seth caught her. Becky then dropkicked Zelina as Seth held her upside down. Andrade charged through the ropes, but Seth kicked him. Seth then gave Andrade the Stomp for the win.
WINNERS: Rollins & Lynch in about 16:00 total including commercial break.
-As Seth and Becky celebrated on the stage, Corbin attacked Seth from behind. Becky punched Corbin, but he brushed her off and laughed. Lacey then caught Becky with a Woman’s Right. Corbin then pounded away at Seth on the stage. Paul Heyman walked past Becky tending to Seth and laughed. The announcers wondered if Brock Lesnar was there. [c]
-A commercial aired for The Street Profits vs. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch on NXT TV this Wednesday night.
(Keller’s Analysis: I wonder how a Wednesday night timeslot for AEW on TNT this fall will affect how NXT is positioned in WWE’s portfolio of shows. Does NXT expand to two hours and go head-to-head? Do they, on the other extreme, move it to Tuesday or Thursday nights? Do they not change a thing because they don’t want to seem like they’re paying any attention to them at all?)
-Corbin and Lacey gloated and talked about whether Becky or Seth losing on Sunday will affect their relationship. Corbin said they’re the new power couple because it’s strictly professional. Lacey said caring about your partner is a liability, not an asset.
(Keller’s Analysis: Corbin shouldn’t do backstage segments, because he’s among the worst actors in WWE today when he’s doing those awkward scripted pre-tapes. For whatever reason, he’s much more believable and less stiff in his delivery of lines in front of crowds.)
-Heyman stood mid-ring and introduced himself. He said this Sunday, there’s a PPV entitled Extreme Rules. He said he happens to know something about the word “extreme.” Cheers. He said the show will emanate from Philadelphia, Pa. He said he happens to know a lot about the city of Philadelphia. He said his client, Brock Lesnar, will cash in the Money in the Bank contract against either Kofi Kingston or Seth Rollins, “and that’s not a prediction, that’s a spoiler.” He said if you think back, he hasn’t violated a spoiler since before WrestleMania 30, so if he were to ever want to send out some misinformation, “I built up my credibility enough that this would be the time for me to lie.” He said only he and Brock know whether Lesnar will really cash in or if he’s just messing with Seth and Kofi.
(Keller’s Analysis: So tune in everyone because Brock might or might not be there! Having Heyman talk about cashing in a lie after building up credibility over time is so meta given Heyman’s reputation over the decades. I’m not sure if I admire his self-awareness and brazenness to just put it out there like that, or if flaunting it like that is just rubbing it in those people’s faces who had to deal with questions about his honesty over the years when dealing with him.)
-The announcers threw to a video package on the Bobby Lashley-Braun Strowman angle last week. Cole announced that they’d be facing each other on Sunday at Extreme Rules in a “Last Man Standing” match.
-Miz made his ring entrance. Cole plugged the six-man tag match coming up next. [c]
-Backstage the camera was showing a guy dumping trash into a bin for some reason when Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre walked up to him. Drew said they hear he’s the best trash man in the world. Shane asked if he’d like to be Roman Reigns’s partner tonight. Shane told him to hang around and it’ll be awesome. The guy was totally unfazed and went back to dealing with trash. Graves plugged the mystery partner tag match coming up later.
(2) THE REVIVAL & ELIAS vs. THE USOS & THE MIZ – Best of Three Falls
A couple minutes in, Miz went after Elias at ringside. Graves said Miz is on a downward spiral because he knows he’ll never be as good as Shane McMahon. Elias walked to the back and Miz stared him down from ringside. Meanwhile, The Revival gave Jimmy Uso a Shatter Machine for the win.
FIRST FALL WINNER: The Revival & Elias in 3:00. [c]
The match continued after the break. Cole noted that Elias has left The Revival without a partner by bailing out on the match. Eventually Jey got a hot-tag and took it to Dash Wilder with a flurry of offense. Dash eventually tagged in Dawson who scored a near fall on Jey. Miz reached for a tag and eventually Jey launched and tagged in Miz. Miz then gave Dawson a quick Skull Crushing Finale for the win.
SECOND FALL WINNER: The Miz & The Usos 14:00 after the match began.
The Usos then promptly went after Dawson in the ring including a top rope frog splash by Jimmy for the win.
WINNERS: The Miz & The Usos two falls to one in 15:00.
-Cole hyped Bayley and Nikki Cross in a Beat the Clock Challenge later, where the winner picks the stipulation for Bayley’s title defense at Extreme Rules. Then the announcers threw to a replay of Drake Maverick attacking R-Truth last Monday and winning the 24/7 Title before going on his honeymoon. Then a clip aired of Drake with a selfie video celebrating that they’re in Orlando for their honeymoon. His bride complained they live in Orlando, so this is a lousy honeymoon. She was full of eye rolls. He kept blocking her in pictures with the 24/7 Title. When Drake said the honeymoon continues, she asked if the Bahamas or Paris was next. He said no, they were headed to Newark.
-Backstage they showed Drake wearing the 24/7 Title coming out of a crate he was hiding in. His bride complained. He said it’s not ideal, but they could step inside the crate together “and get it on.” He said he’s going to show the world what a great 24/7 Champion he is and then show her what a great husband he is as well. He said then he’ll give her the honeymoon she deserves. She said once that happens, they can consummate their marriage. Drake yelled, “Yes, I’m going to get it on with my wife!” The parade of 24/7 contenders charged toward Drake so he ran away: Eric Young, Titus O’Neal, Curt Hawkins, Zack Ryder, EC3, Lucha House Party, and Heath Slater. Renee said about Drake’s bride, “Poor girl.”
-They showed Rey Mysterio backstage heading to the ring for his open challenge. [c]
-Cole congratulated the U.S. Women’s National Team for winning their fourth World Cup. He said Triple H sent them a commemorative WWE World Title belt “so the World Cup team could celebrate.” (They couldn’t celebrate without a WWE belt?)
-Backstage Shane and Drew told a concessions guy he might be chosen to be Reigns’s partner. Drew told the man, Louie, he should thank Shane because it’s a great opportunity. He thanked Shane. Renee said it’s getting ridiculous.
-Rey entered the ring and said he refused to accept doctor’s telling him he’d be out of action a long time. He said he worked harder and became hungrier and beat doctor’s predictions. He said he is back and he is so ready to compete. He issued an open challenge to anybody in the back who is listening. Bobby Lashley’s music played. Rey looked concerned. The announcers wondered how he is able to walk, much less compete, after what happened last week with Braun.
(3) REY MYSTERIO vs. BOBBY LASHLEY
Rey attacked Lashley before the bell, which Cole characterized as a “smart move.” Lashley shoved him off and the ref called for the bell. Rey countered Lashley with a DDT and then set up an early 619 and landed it. Then he climbed to the top rope, but Lashley caught him and gave him a face-plant and then a spear for the win. Graves called Lashley a freak of nature for even being there.
WINNER: Lashley in 1:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: That’s a curious use of Rey coming back from injury. Rey says he beat doctor predictions for how long he’d be out, but Lashley’s the one who walked out with no signs of damage from a virtual war zone and ambulance ride last week, and then he crushes Rey despite babyface Rey attacking him before the bell for no reason. Rey is worth more than this.)
-Afterward, Lashley threw Rey out of the ring. Lashley pressed Rey above his head an threatened to throw him into the LED wall. A ref stepped in the way. Lashley picked Rey up again and threw him at three referees, who tumbled over. Lashley then marched to the announce table and grabbed a mic. He said last week he was the only man standing and next Sunday he’ll be the last man standing. He flexed his arms as several people tended to the fallen referees and Rey. [c]
-Charly Caruso asked A.J. Styles backstage why he attacked Ricochet last week after their match. Styles said he doesn’t owe her or anyone an explanation. “Get out of my face,” he said, then walked away. She asked for Anderson and Gallows to comment, but they just followed behind Styles.
(Keller’s Analysis: Instead of Styles being an impatient jerk, how about giving Styles a chance to better explain his sudden heel turn. All we have to work with as viewers is that Anderson and Gallows gave him a hard time for not beating Ricochet faster one week, and then losing to Ricochet the next week. That’s enough to undo everything Styles has established about his character for years? We’re supposed to believe that? I mean, Styles as a heel is fresh because it seemed his character had grown tired, but a rushed heel turn without a better backstory isn’t helping matters.)
(4) NO WAY JOSE vs. CESARO
This was a re-do after the match was called off last week. Renee said Cesaro is underrated and trying to change that reputation. Cesaro chased off the Conga Line. No Way Jose attacked Cesaro at ringside and then threw him into the ring. The ref called for the bell when they both entered the ring. Cole said No Way Jose also feels he’s been underrated and overlooked. Cesaro did a relatively brief Cesaro Swing and then applied a sharpshooter for the tapout win.
WINNER: Cesaro in 2:00 via tapout.
(Keller’s Analysis: If Heyman is behind Cesaro getting a renewed singles push, I’m all for that. It’ll take some rebuilding, but he’s so talented, he could be an effective top-of-the-second-tier wrestler testing main eventers rather than a lower mid-card wrestler not taken seriously at all.)
-The Street Profits plugged Extreme Rules and threw their thumbs toward the camera and mugged for the cameras. They excitedly talked about the Roman Reigns mystery partner tag tonight. They wondered if Kawai Leonard might be their pick. They called for Kerwin in the truck to cut away.
(Keller’s Analysis: I’m not so sure about this.)
-Graves thanked Dirty Honey for “When I’m Gone,” the official theme of Extreme Rules. Then the announcers shifted to talking about Mike and Maria Kanellis.
-Backstage Maria was looking at her phone when Mike walked in with flowers. He called her sweetie and apologized for what happened last week. He said he’s so excited to be having their second child together. They went lovey-dovey and talked about how much they love each other. Maria said she also loves ice cream. And pickles. She got stern. Mike realized she was asking for ice cream and pickles. She said either that or she eats the flowers. He asked if she wanted low fat ice cream. She angrily asked what he was getting at. He skedaddled away to get her what she wanted.
(Keller’s Analysis: So they’re catering to men who think their wive is moody and nags them too much? That’s WWE’s way of getting the 18-34 male audience back? The ornery wife who want pickles and ice cream feels like it was a stale cliche in 1975.)
-Back to the announcers, they interviewed Nikki and Bayley on a split-screen. Cole asked how much pressure Nikki feels given that Alexa Bliss isn’t there tonight. Nikki said she feels the whole world is on her shoulders because she owes everything to Alexa “and quite frankly, I don’t know what I’d be without Alexa.” Bayley told her that Alexa is using her and has made her career off of using her. “You’re the reason that she has this rematch,” Bayley said. She said she has to figure this out. Nikki said that’s enough because she’s tired of her running down Alexa every chance she gets. She said the more she bashes her, the more motivated she is to beat her up. Cole interjected to explain the rules of the Beat the Clock Challenge. Cole said Bayley will face Sarah Logan and Nikki will face Dana Brooke. Bayley then talked about facing Logan. Nikki then commented on Dana, then told Bayley she is ready to play.
-They showed The Viking Raiders backstage. [c]
-Backstage R-Truth and Carmella were looking in crates to try to find Drake and his bride hiding. Truth began looking under desks and drawers. “I just need my baby back!” he said. “I hope he’s not showing her scary movies. She needs me. I work all day, my life on the go, put your hands on the clock, they’ve been moving so slow, I can’t wait to be alone with my baby tonight.” The parade of 24/7 contenders ran by. Carmella hopped onto Truth’s shoulders, but then he ran the opposite way.
(5) THE VIKING RAIDERS (Erik & Ivar) vs. COLIN JUSTIN & DEVON JUSTIN
Erik tossed one of the jobbers around, then tagged in Ivar who splashed him. He lifted his shoulder at the two count. They won shortly thereafter with their Viking Experience finisher.
WINNER: Raiders in 1:00.
-Drake ran into the ring. The contenders followed, but the Raiders beat up Hawkins. Truth stood in the ring and faced off against them, but then ran out of the ring and left with Carmella on his back.
-They showed Ricochet on his way to the ring. [c]
-Caruso interviewed Roman Reigns. She asked if she knows who his partner will be. He quietly said, “I know you’re looking for a headline, but I don’t have anything for you.” He said the only people playing mind games are his team.
(Keller’s Analysis: Reigns couldn’t have seemed less interested in being at work than he showed here. He just half-heartedly soft-talked his way through this. What does it mean “his team” is playing mind games? He doesn’t even have a partner yet.)
-As Ricochet made his entrance, Cole plugged a “Chronicle: Ricochet” special which premieres Saturday immediately after the Evolve 10th Anniversary Special. Ricochet said at first he thought it was a great opportunity to face Styles because he looked up to him for so long and it was a way to prove himself. He said before he could celebrate his win, Anderson and Gallows gave him one of the biggest beatings of his life. He said on Sunday, he’ll defend against Styles. He said he knows what he’s got in store for himself tonight, because he’ll have to face not just Gallows, but also Anderson and Styles.
(Keller’s Analysis: He’s still not where he needs to be on the mic to be a top act Vince McMahon will push in the top tier. There’s just a stiffness and lack of charisma to his mic work. It’s not awful, but it’s not matching his other assets as a wrestlers yet.)
-Styles, Anderson, and Gallows walked out together. Styles took a mic and taunted Ricochet. He said he had some advice for him. He told Ricochet to slow down and appreciate the moment because Gallows is going to stomp a mud hole in him tonight. Styles threw to a video recap of his heel turn last week.
(6) RICOCHET vs. LUKE GALLOWS (w/Karl Anderson, A.J. Styles)
Gallows dominated the first couple of minutes. Styles celebrated. Renee said it was the happiest she’s ever seen Styles. Ricochet rolled up Gallows and scored a surprise pinfall.
WINNER: Ricochet in 2:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: With everything that happened since the commercial ended but before the bell rang to start the match, you knew that match would end quickly since they were due for another commercial break soon. This was yet another contrived forced gimmicky way to get to a commercial break. This just isn’t sustainable.)
-Styles told Ricochet to take on Anderson “right here, right now.” Ricochet yelled that he’s ready and called Anderson into the ring. Cole asked if Ricochet would accept the challenge. Uh, he already did. [c]
(7) RICOCHET vs. KARL ANDERSON (w/Luke Gallows, A.J. Styles)
Ricochet took a beating for a few minutes. When Ricochet made a comeback, Styles grabbed his leg. Anderson then hit Ricochet from behind, but Ricochet then dove onto Gallows at ringside as Styles ran out of his path. Styles reached to grab Ricochet’s legs, but Ricochet flipped off the ring apron onto Styles. He re-entered the ring and gave Anderson a flying dropkick in the corner, then landed a 630 for the win.
WINNER: Ricochet in 5:00.
-After the match, Styles attacked Ricochet. Anderson and Gallows gave Ricochet their Magic Killer. Then Styles gave Ricochet a top rope Styles Clash. Styles took the mic and said, “I’m a good guy.” He told Ricochet he would stop there so he doesn’t have any excuses when he beats him on Sunday at Extreme Rules for the U.S. Title. Ricochet stood up. Styles, Anderson, and Gallows decided to head back to the ring and deliver another beating. As Anderson and Gallows held him in place, Styles hit Ricochet with a Phenomenal Forearm. Styles yelled that he is too sweet.
-Cole plugged Evolve’s 10th Anniversary Special. He called it the premiere independent organization. A video package aired on it with comments form and clips of various wrestlers including Johnny Gargano, Tony Nese, Matt Riddle, Daniel Bryan, Adam Cole, Street Profits, Walter, and others.
-They went to the announcers. Graves said Evolve is like looking into a crystal ball at the future of WWE. Cole plugged the WWE Network.
-Backstage Drake’s bride yelled at him, “Where have you been?” He said he did it and survived the night as the 24/7 Champion. Out of a crate popped R-Truth and a referee. Truth looked at his belt and yelled, “Hornswoggle, that’s my baby!” Carmella popped out of another crate and told Truth to get this. Truth ran after Drake with a referee on his back. Bayley watched and chuckled, then headed to the ring.
(Keller’s Analysis: I think this week might have been the week that the Truth-Drake dynamic, and the 24/7 gimmick in general, lost a lot of whatever it had going for it.)
-They were filming a guy backstage with a mop for some reason. Shane and Drew turned a corner and noticed him, then shouted that they wanted to talk to him.
(Keller’s Analysis: Why can’t WWE film Shane and Drew walking around looking for hapless partners to be Reigns’ partners, rather than cutting to a shot of hapless partner candidate whom Shane and Drew then “just happen to run into.” It’s such a small change, but so obviously better.) [c]
-Cole plugged the WWE category in the ESPYs.
-Shane asked the janitor if he’d do something for $5,000. The guy said he’d do anything for $5,000. Shane said he wants him to be Reigns’s partner. He said he can’t wrestle. Shane said he just has to stand there. Drew suggested he wear a mask. “No offense,” he said. Shane said they’re so recognizable, that they’d get him a mask.
(Keller’s Analysis: The “mask” suggestion made no sense. Clearly Shane and Drew suggested the mask so that Reigns can substitute this “schmuck” for someone who is an actual wrestler later. There are so many obviously better ways to establish the mask here, and among the worst is Shane and Drew coming up with they idea without any reason.)
(8) BAYLEY vs. SARAH LOGAN – Beat the Clock Challenge
Bayley controlled early and scored a two count at 0:35. Logan took over after headbutted Bayley. As Logan dominated Bayley for several minutes, fans began chanting “C.M. Punk!” Graves said Logan is making her name known with this performance. Bayley came back and got the pin after a knee and a sunset flip into the corner.
WINNER: Bayley at 4:32.
-Nikki began her ring entrance. [c]
(9) NIKKI CROSS vs. DANA BROOKE
Bayley watched at ringside. Dana bailed out at the start. Bayley smiled. When Dana went over to Bayley and posed with her to kill time, Graves called it “collusion.” Nikki had enough and chased after Dana, chasing her back into the ring. They had the countdown clock on the screen. They fought back and forth. Dana scored a near fall with 2:16 left with small package. Nikki countered with a backslide, but Dana rolled through and schoolboyed Nikki for a two count. Nikki hit a neckbreaker immediately for a three count with 1:51 left.
WINNER: Cross at 2:47.
(Keller’s Analysis: I applaud WWE for resisting the temptation of having a contrived finish with just seconds left on the clock. What I don’t applaud WWE for is having the babyfaces, Dana and Bayley, booked to stall on purpose to run out the clock. Shouldn’t Dana be presented having the confidence to win on her own without stalling?)
-Nikki called Bayley into the ring because she wanted to say something to her face. Bayley entered the ring. Nikki said Bayley doesn’t understand what a real friendship means, and that’s why she’s been accusing Alexa of being an insincere friend. Nikki said she’ll show her what it means on Sunday because at Extreme Rules, it’ll be a two-on-one title match. She said she’ll help Alexa win the Smackdown Championship. She then gave Bayley some “free advice.” She told her to find a friend of her own because she needs someone as loyal and honest as Bliss is with her. “Someone to slap some sense into you!” she said. Bayley slapped Nikki. Renee said Nikki deserved that. Bayley took Nikki down and then landed her signature top rope elbow. [c]
-Backstage Mike showed up with ice cream and pickles. Maria yelled that she can’t eat it because it’ll make her fat. She asked Mike if he’d like to impregnate her right now if she weren’t already pregnant. He said he’d love to do it right now. She said he will never impregnate her again, and then she said she’s not sure he impregnated him the first time. She stood up and yelled, “Look what you’ve done to me!” he said.
-Renee asked Cole if Mike isn’t the father of Maria’s baby. Cole then threw to clips of what happened at the start of the show with Corbin and Lacey attacking Seth and Becky.
-Graves interviewed Seth and Becky. Graves said it’s obviously Corbin and Lacey inflicted some damage, but not too much. He asked how their personal relationship will affect their match on Sunday, because some are saying their personal feelings could be their downfall. Graves tried to stir trouble by talking about how losing could affect their relationship. Becky said she sees what he’s doing. She said on Sunday, there are no rules and she’s taking the handcuffs off. She said when they lose, they’re getting no more chances. Seth said, “Oh, yeah, what she said.” Graves said, “This is going to be an implosion.”
-Cole hyped the main event tag match at Extreme Rules, then threw to a video package hyping the Kofi Kingston vs. Samoa Joe WWE Title match.
-The Street Profits were backstage again, without explanation, riffing on the Kofi-Joe feud and other matches at Extreme Rules. [c]
-Reigns made his ring entrance. Then Shane and Drew came out. Shane had ring announcer Mike Rome re-do his introduction. Rome’s voice cracked and the announcers made fun of him. Drew said he’s always seen right through Reigns. He said he has no respect for Shane or authority. He said the only person he respects is himself. He promised him that tonight and this Sunday he will beat the respect into him. He said for right now, everybody is going to shut their mouths and listen to exactly what Shane has to say. Shane said he knows Reigns is jonesing to know who his partner is going to be. Shane said they found the right person. He said he was a three-time Prudential employee of the month and a spelling bee champion, Gary “The Goat” Garbutt. Then apparently the janitor guy walked out under mask. They cut to a break as he dragged himself to the ring with a noticeable limp. [c]
(10) DREW MCINTYRE & SHANE MCMAHON vs. ROMAN REIGNS & GARY “THE GOAT” GARBUTT
Reigns and Drew battled early. Drew threw Reigns to the floor, then turned to Garbutt. Drew yanked Gabutt in, with the ref saying he tagged in because Drew threw Roman into him. Shane happily tagged in. Gabutt surprised Shane with a punch and a flying clothesline. He then knocked Drew out of the ring. “Who is this dude?” asked Cole. The guy then did a running flip dive over the top rope. He celebrated at ringside, then leaped of the top rope onto Shane. Drew, though, delivered a nasty Claymore Kick for the win.
WINNERS: Shane & Drew in 4:00.
-Reigns sat up at ringside. He entered the ring and took Drew out with a Superman Punch. Shane fled the scene. Reigns looked down at his partner. The announcers marveled at Garbutt’s moves. Reigns helped him untie his mask. He revealed himself as Cedric Alexander. He was bleeding inside his mouth and showed off some blood. Reigns and Cedric shared some laughs as the show concluded with a Cole plug for the Undertaker & Reigns vs. Shane & Drew match on Sunday.
(Keller’s Analysis: Cedric still lost, so I’m not sure how that spoiled Shane and Drew’s plot. Strange execution of an old standby gimmick. Every other time this gimmick has been done, the finish is the heel getting rolled up by the guy in the mask because the heel doesn’t suspect the guy in the mask is an actual wrestler. But Super-Shane-o-Mac is a McMahon and he can’t even get rolled up by surprise. This gimmick only works if the heels lose. Cedric getting in a couple big moves is hardly worth celebrating over since he got pinned in the end, which made Reigns and Cedric look like idiots for sharing a laugh together after the match as if they had accomplished something to be proud of. Reigns has never looked less engaged or interested in his job than he did this week, and I can’t really blame him. This was awful.)
FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a show so bad in so many needless ways, I don’t even know what to say. It feels like it was written by dumb people or people with diminished capacities or people who don’t understand basic tenets of storytelling and television production. It’s inexcusable that so many easily correctable logic mistakes were made start to finish in this show. Whatever Paul Heyman was supposed to bring to the process, I hope this wasn’t it, because if he had big influence on this show, he’s lost it and shouldn’t be anywhere near an Executive Director booking position in 2019. My hunch is this was more Vince McMahon and some lazy writers who have given up caring or thinking trying hard matters anymore.