I think it’s fair to say this is the strangest PPV in a while from WWE. Loose ends aplenty and no story progression except maybe from the main event and the tag title match, possibly. WWE has made no effort to make this must see, and whilst there is the potential for a few great matches, I’m not holding my breath for the PPV as a whole. The lack of the Universal championship is already annoying me. Not being on Raw is fine, not showing up once a month is just going to be annoying. But let’s get into it, because it’s what PPV Sundays are for.
(Matches taken from WWE website as of time of writing.)
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
Last time I saw the ‘Good Brothers’ on the kickoff show, they won the tag titles. I’m a little curious to see what happens with Gallows and Anderson moving forward as the Revival are now on Raw. Whilst not identical, they have a similar attitude and style that could make one look redundant if not handled correctly. As far as this match goes, I’m expecting a Club win. Hardy’s will need someone to fight, keep the heel team as strong as lacklustre effort can.
Winer: Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson.
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville vs. Austin Aries
This is a tough one. Aries is seemingly the only contender put on Neville’s level but he already lost at Mania and can’t afford a second loss if they want to maintain his credibility. Neville has been the best thing about 205 Live since his return and his title reign doesn’t seem fit to end just yet. Maybe this would explain TJ Perkins involvement recently, literally the buffer Aries labelled him.
Extreme Rules is the next Raw PPV in which the Cruiserweight title will be defended. You have to believe a multi-person ladder match for the title would make the most sense, and be the perfect place for the King to be dethroned. Neville seeing usurpers everywhere as they all come for his title could be great for the division, but for that to work properly, I’m picking him to retain. Even if I’d love and understand an Aries win.
Winner: Neville, thanks to TJ Perkins shenanigans.
WWE Raw Women’s Champion Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss
Oh Bayley, what have they done to you? WWE are currently reaping what they sowed with Bayley as what could have been an unbridled superstar success is now a little cringy and nervous, and always being supported by her friend Sasha. Whilst the inevitable heel turn of Sasha could help things, Bayley is just a reminder of how badly the Raw writers thinking they know best can balls things up. (Be warned Miz and BROKEN Matt.)
The match itself is a little trickier. Alexa Bliss, the best female on the mic by far, would love to take Bayley’s title in her back yard. Sasha will obviously play a part but there is one consideration making me think Bayley. It’s not the hopeful Summerslam showdown between Bayley and Sasha, as Alexa could easily be a transitional champ. What makes me think Bayley is how much they love Charlotte Flair as the women’s division record breaker. Only this week they were trumpeting her achievement of being first woman to main event PPV, Raw and Smackdown. In my head, there’s no way they don’t keep the first woman to hold both titles for Charlotte, rather than Alexa. The shadow of Charlotte still looms large on Raw.
Winner: Bayley, just. Look for Sasha Banks to be involved.
Raw Tag Team Champions The Hardy Boyz vs. Sheamus & Cesaro
Isn’t it nice when teams can get along? No? Yeah, I suppose it can be a bit cloying, and suspicious. But let’s pretend it’s not a big deal and look at the match itself. The Hardy’s don’t need the title to be amazingly over. In fact, losing them could be what breaks Matt (and Jeff). But as with the Cruiserweight title, Extreme Rules is just around the corner for the Raw brand. If there was to be a moment to break Team Extreme, that would be it. Although because they’re no longer kids, or Boyz as WWE insists (urgh) and they won the titles at a ladder match, I’m hoping it’ll be something a little easier on them.
As far as tonight goes, I think the Hardy’s retain, with frustration building for Sheamus and Cesaro. The tag team division would be best spinning its wheels for The Revival to come back and be the ones to take the titles. They are the right kind of team to build the division around and it would help that they have a habit of breaking things.
Winner: The Hardy Boyz, still as Team Extreme
WWE US Champion Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho
This could have been one of the all-time great feuds but too many things have conspired against it, most notably, the superstar shake-up. The blood feud that was brewing has become reduced to promos on opposite shows. Add to that the fact that the Fozzy tour starts soon and Jericho is due for another hiatus and there seems to be only one winner coming from this match. The new face of America, annoying as the dated, brash immigrant gimmick is, has just started. The open challenges will be going on quite a while so there seems to be no other result than a Kevin Owens win. Look for Owens to decimate the departing and all round good sport Jericho, as he looks to cement himself as a dangerous threat to Americanness(?) and Jericho leaves us to return once more, hopefully.
Winner: Kevin Owens, then a lot of apron powerbomb’s to bid Jericho farewell.
Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe
Seth just beat Joe’s benefactor at Wrestlemania. Joe is making his PPV debut. Neither man can really afford to lose. This feud should be coming to an end but for that to happen one will have to lose. My main issue is what they would go on to next? Seth Rollins is being built but to what end? He couldn’t start fighting Braun, as it would look too much like sticking up for Roman, and he’s currently making good strides in getting the fans on board. Affiliation with Reigns would not help. So he wouldn’t be heading for the title picture, although all roads lead there. Joe can literally go anywhere, but would be better off with momentum as a killer, rather than a conquered enforcer. I imagine a feud with Ambrose would be the next best call.
Maybe they have to keep this feud going then till the next month. Which means a Joe win. Which he needs. Rollins has an out with the knee (just about) and could get a win in a crazy brawl at Extreme Rules. With no clearer path, a shamelessly villainous win for Joe is the only outcome that can make sense moving forward. Which probably means Seth just wins and moves on, but I have hope that they don’t want to discard Joe.
Winner: Samoa Joe, choking out but no tapping from the newly heroic Rollins.
WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
Is the title even on the line here? I know Mahal ran away with it, which could be a blessing, keeping the title away from the match, but seriously. It doesn’t mention anywhere that it’s for the title, none of the talk has been about getting it back. This just seems like revenge, Bray hoping to get it before moving on to feud with Finn Balor.
Sadly, Bray Wyatt is always set up to lose the big matches, but he wins the unimportant ones. If this is non-title, I have to go for Bray avenging his Mania loss and the burning down of his spiritual home. I have no idea what the match is going to look like but hopefully it will be painless and quick. But I don’t have high hopes.
Winner: Bray Wyatt, but only if there’s no title on the line.
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Let’s make is clear. Braun should win! We all know too well the habit of making Reigns to be a superman, and whilst I genuinely enjoy Reigns PPV matches, (honestly think the one with Taker was the worst and that was still OK) I will be totally taken out of it if Reigns overcomes the odds here.
He has a legit out. Many injuries, a monster of an opponent, a reason to be kept away from Brock Lesnar and the title for as long as possible. It all adds up to make me think nothing but a valiant effort that is ultimately crushed by the Monster amongst Men, who wants a bit of Lesnar for the title. It may be a long way till Great Balls of Fire (worst name ever) but if Strowman and Lesnar are to square up then, Strowman needs this win.
Winner: Braun Strowman, because I like to live dangerously and bet against Roman.
So there it is. A thoroughly uninspired PPV that could give us a few interesting things to ponder but I’m still not hopeful. I’m also picking all the champions to retain. Which feels weird, but just seems to make sense for now. At least being wrong would make it interesting.
Feel the desire to argue, agree, condemn or converse, feel free to comment below or at [email protected] or @HeneghanCiaran.
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