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WWE Raw, SmackDown And Backlash, Oh My!

Well, the unthinkable happened.  Jinder Mahal is your new WWE Champion after defeating Randy Orton at Backlash.  I said in a previous column that if WWE wants to push this guy, then he needs to beat Orton and establish a new monster heel in the company.  While the fan in me hates seeing Jinder win the championship, especially with shenanigans, but the decision makes sense.  The win, was the biggest and most interesting thing of the week, but there were another few moments on RAW and Smackdown.  Let’s check out the highlights from this week in WWE.

The Highlight Reel

Shinsuke Nakamura and Dolph Ziggler put on a great opening match at Backlash.  Nakamura is proving to be the most unique talent on the WWE roster.  With a win over Ziggler and Money in the Bank as Smackdown’s next PPV, Nakamura has to be a heavy favorite, right?

Kevin Owens and AJ Styles had one of the best matches of the night for the US Championship, I just hate the booking decision.  I hate that this match ended in disqualification.  Owens tied Styles to the announce table causing a count out and this felt hollow.  This was done so neither guy lost, but why can’t someone lose here?  Normally this would be to keep the feud going, but given that they both will be in the Money in the Bank match, this feud is kind of over.  This match was so incredible that this finish ruined it.  Also, the kick out of these insane moves was too much.  Styles had a bum leg after Owens attacked it all match, and when Styles went for his Phenomenal Forearm, his leg gave out and he fell.  That could have ended the match there.  Also how about this move Owens did to Styles:

I don’t know what this move is, but it is like John Cena’s Attitude Adjustment off the top rope.  Why kick out of this?  I don’t even think Owens has ever beaten anyone with this move and it is much better than his finisher!

Now let’s get to the main event.  Jinder Mahal snatching that WWE Championship from Randy Orton.  While some may hate the outcome, this match was very entertaining.  The event was in Chicago and they were doing their Chicago style fandom by booing Orton and cheering Mahal.  Chicago loves cheering for heels, but Orton brought this on himself after going on a Twitter rant attacking indy wrestlers.  Fans took this too far, but the reaction Orton received wasn’t surprising.

This match had some shenanigans with Mahal’s henchmen The Singh Brothers interfering a ton, including Orton attacking them in some pretty nasty ways.  This was to the point where Orton even made a face that he took it too far.  Very entertaining, but he almost paralyzed one of them!  The finish was after another distraction where Mahal was able to hit Orton with his finisher and stun the WWE Universe.

RAW’s most interesting moment had Finn Balor come out, only to be interrupted by Brock Lesnar’s advocate, Paul Heyman.  During this exchange, Heyman said Lesnar would welcome a challenge from Balor for the Universal Championship, only if Balor wins the opportunity at Extreme Rules.  This was much needed for Balor’s character.  Balor, without his demon gimmick, is boring me right now and I really enjoyed his encounter with Heyman.  If Balor challenges Lesnar for the championship, they are going to have to really convince me Balor has a chance in hell over the Beast Incarnate.

Bailey is getting worse and worse everybody.  Did anyone see her grab that kendo stick and slowly walk over to Alexa giving her time to exit the ring?  I’m hoping after the Kendo Stick on a Pole Match (shades of 1999) between Alexa Bliss and Bayley, that we see Bayley go away for a bit and repackage the character a bit.

I’m enjoying the Drifter, Elias Sampson, character with his nuclear heat of strumming guitars and singing songs to a chorus of boos from the crowd.  He took on Dean Ambrose in his debut match and after The Miz interfered to get Ambrose disqualified, he sent a message to the Intercontinental Champion because if Ambrose is DQ’d at Extreme Rules, he loses the championship.  If this is the match stipulation, shouldn’t Maryse just slap Miz in the face when the match starts and have Miz win the championship right then and there?  I wouldn’t hate it if that happened!

The RAW main event was weak again.  A tag match featuring former Shield partners Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns against Samoa Joe and Bray Wyatt.  Not much happened here, minus two commercial breaks, but the main point was that it is every man for himself.  Reigns accidentally knocked down Rollins causing an argument and allowing the heels to go over in this one.  After, GM Kurt Angle was with Finn Balor and made two matches next week, Reigns vs. Rollins and Balor vs. Wyatt vs. Joe.  Cool matches, HORRIBLE execution by Angle who just dead reads his lines without any emotion and a cheesy, “it’s true, it’s DAMN true,” to close the show.  I wanted so much more from Angle, but he is just a shell of his former character at this point.

Smackdown kicked off with Shane McMahon announcing the Money in the Bank match and participants.  Again, like on RAW, with all this time before these PPV’s, why can’t there be some story about qualifying for these matches?  Instead, we are spoon fed the participants of Nakamura, Ziggler, Styles, Corbin, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens (after complaining).  A tag team match was made for later and had Nakamura and Styles tagging together for the first time and defeating Owens and Ziggler.

How about the Fashion Police segments with Breezango (Fandango & Tyler Breeze)?!  These are so entertaining and I can’t imagine any haters of these great antics by these two.  What started with an awesome backstage segment with Shane McMahon, led to individual matches against each member of the Usos.  Both matches ended within seconds seeing Breezango defeat each tag team champion individually which led to a tag title match immediately!  The Usos retained, but Breezango deserves their time with the championships down the road.

Jinder Mahal came out with an Indian celebration for his victory over Orton.  While Orton was already granted his rematch against Mahal at Money in the Bank, he was nowhere to be seen.  Mahal must have lost his voice or something because, during his victory speech, his voice cracked numerous times and was unable to get to his shouting levels in his past promos.  This took something away from his first appearance as champion, but for now, let’s see how he does with the belt.

Final Notes

The Hardys are going to take on Sheamus and Cesaro in a steel cage after Matt Hardy defeated Sheamus on RAW.  This has to be where Sheamus and Cesaro finally beat the Hardys, right?  They haven’t beaten the Hardys in any match yet!

I’m into the Goldust return to his former self!  His “return to the director’s chair” as he said in his vignette is a welcome change from his Golden Truth character as of late.  Here’s to one more final strong heel run for Goldust.

That’s all for me this week, what were your thoughts on WWE this week?

Sound off below!

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