Raw / Smackdown Is….

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It was the mighty back to back go home show double header. The table has been set for Summerslam. One of the only four times in a year where both Smackdown and Raw have a go home show in the week. Raw had a better overall showing, while Smackdown had the most memorable moment.

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Was that the ultimate reasoning over the fist bump heard around the world or are Dean and Seth on the same page. We finally got the payoff of a Shield reunion and the execution made all the wait well worth it. Seth and Dean were excellent in convey doubts of not only trusting each other but trusting themselves as well. When they got into a tussle it was built by anger over how these two can not just quit each other.
Heels are booked to get humiliated and on Smackdown we all had a laugh at the bully. Baron Corbin’s Money in the Bank cash in fail was great in the moment but serves as another example of WWE giving too much away before a big event. We are now going into to Summerslam without the possibility of a cash in and a weaker looking opponent for John Cena. This only adds more anger to Corbin to want to destroy Cena, more he already had plenty of that. Corbin’s main motivation has never included much story besides wanting to beat a guy up, but at least now he has the revenge factor in play. I guess that’s an improvement. The career of the Lone Wolf might just lay in the hands of John Cena. Remember Damien Sandow cashed his briefcase in and lost, yikes, nevermind he’s a bad example. But Cena did give him his best match ever, so maybe Corbin will steal the show.

Remember when Sasha Banks was jobbing to Nia Jax in squash matches a few months ago. It’s a distant memory to what happened Monday when Sasha executed her best Bank Statement ever by reversing a Samoan Drop into a DDT into the Crossface. It was a very impressive move by both of them. Going into Summerslam this is one of the hardest matches to predict. I believe it isn’t Sasha’s time. And the only is because of her link with Bayley. It would be conceivable for Nia Jax to interfere in this match and Alexa to perceive it as a sign of friendship, but Nia really only does it because Alexa is easier to defeat than Sasha for the Women’s Championship. This triangle can spin the wheels until Bayley returns and then the seeds of Sasah vs Bayley can be planted because that’s where the money is.

Big Cass is his best heel self when he is shooting and keeping it 100% real. Now that may bury his friend Enzo and an irrelevant Big Show, but we rarely see tag teams have two members survive. Some one has to be a Marty Jannety, some one has to be a Jim Neidhart. The only way this angle will be saved is to have Enzo urn on Big Show to accept the manager role he is destined for.

We have almost been conditioned to not pay attention to cruiserweight bouts on Raw. So it was a problem when the title changed hands out of nowhere. Neville has been a great champion, his loss should’ve been on a bigger platform. In other divisions a title change on Raw would be exciting. In the Cruiserweight division it’s like you went to a concert and you were in the bathroom while they played the song you came for. But like Corbin’s cash in, Tozawa’s win makes their Summerslam match more unpredictable.

Before I say a few quick hits and do predictions. This gif is something all wrestling fans are hoping to see… Get well Nature Boy!!!
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It was smart to let Jason Jordan get the rub from Hardys to boost him.
I can’t tell if Big Cass and Jason Jordan got new entrance music or did they just make the audio louder.
All those developmental guys posing as security had too goofy of a haircut to ever make it as a security guard.

SUMMERSLAM Predictions
Brock Lesnar (C) Roman Reigns, Samoa Joe and Braun Strowman – Brock will win, they will tear the house down. There are too many leaks, and business deals behind the curtain all attached to Brock remaining on top. WINNER Brock

Jinder Mahal (C) vs Shinsuke Nakamura – The card is going to need a feel good moment and the current world climate doesn’t have the room for the boring xenophobia villain. I am worried for the Championship in the long run, but it will get a shining moment this Sunday. WINNER Shinsuke

AJ Styles (C) vs Kevin Owens – Kevin Owens has been in some form of a title picture for a long time now. It’s time to move him into a different but still high profile feud. Expect Shane to cost him a win. WINNER AJ

Wrestling isn’t everything but everything is wrestling

Raw / Smackdown Is….

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I think by rule we are not allowed to have both Raw and Smackdown be good in the same week. They have to take turns. Raw moved their stories forward and is forced to make adjustments due to injuries. Raw and Smackdown were both in Toronto or as Graves and JBL would say, because they probably had Vince in their ear, Bizzaro World.

The feud of the year is Braun and Roman’s to lose. This has made Braun a star while not burying Roman. Constant exhibitions of power have been shown by both men. And we can continue to question which of these two are going to be “The Guy”? Usually we have this question while a heelish authority are pulling strings. Instead we have one experiment being the benefactor of a previous experiment. Even if Roman is “The Guy”, at least this long feud has given us the illusion of WWE souring on him and choosing Braun. Regardless if we keep getting more chair throws and runway spears, I’ll stay invested.
The will they won’t they between Seth and Dean is classic sitcom fodder. The Ross and Rachel of current times. Next we can expect for them to realize they are each other’s lobsters. This week they had the Toronto crowd in the palms of their clenched fists. An extension of five knuckles teetered the hopes of a city. A friendship reborn or a cut dug deeper. Two years of unspoken tension finally has its spotlight in the simmering summer sun.
Bayley is too normal and too nice and she shouldn’t acknowledge boos just because the crowd isn’t buying into her goody tooshoesness. Corey Graves says Toronto is Bizzaro world but I think they’re just astute at seeing through the veils. It’s Canada, where screw jobs happen and wrestling reality began. I think WWE thought Bayley could have an “I Lost My Smile” moment, but it became another Bayley segment where her sweetness backfired.

Bayley became the girl that cries wolf. If you are always the oh chucks me, feel bad for me promo. When it comes time for a In Real Life reason to feel bad for you. You have already spent all your good will. She has to find an edge to her character. She can still remain a kids favorite with that edge. WWE needs to understand that kids can still eat up all her merch and happiness when that is part of her presentation, but with Bayley presentation and character need to be separated. When she finds that edge it has to turn her into an in ring bad ass with actual confidence. She does not have to be turned heel but need be more steadier and stern than her inflatable dancing tubes.
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Jason Jordan’s entrance music is more bland than any jobber they’ll throw at him. This week we were lead to believe that random wrestlers are just allowed to be backstage at Raw. And despite having a roster with the 100 in a row losing Curt Hawkins, all you have to do to get a match is be walking down the hall. Jean-Pierre Goulet got more of a pop than Jason Jordan.
Yes Finn, based on Bray Wyatt’s record we can confirm he doesn’t care about wins and losses. That scale has way more chips on the L side. The pattern in Bray Wyatt feuds continues. A segment where lights go out, check, segment where he talks on screen, check. We’ve seen Bray doing the same thing for a year now and it doesn’t matter who he’s facing. Watch any promo Bray’s had and you won’t know who he’s in a program with because they all blend together.

Smackdown was a disappointment, probably because Raw was good and we can’t be spoiled with too much good. No stories progressed forward or added new depths. Kevin Owens vs AJ Styles was the segment of the night as it is a feud where continuity actually matters. Something that WWE often forgets. But to bring up video of guest referee Shane screwing Stone Cold back in 1998 was a joy we never knew we needed. It now adds doubt to Shane’s ability, while also looking like a possible detriment to either competitor. I still find it peculiar what WWE edits out of their YouTube clips. They usually take out anything that is shoot worthy like, “Canadians know all about a McMahon screwing them over, the only difference between now and then is that guy deserved it”.

Cena has become Meta and is having fun being extremely self aware. He’s calling himself Super Cena and saying how rare it is for him to lose cleanly. At this rate the rest of the world will follow his meta and actually cheer him wholeheartedly at Summerslam. It will be easy too, being that Corbin has all the charisma of a dead battery. My interest in this program will peak if the Money In The Bank contract is put on the line. As of now my interests is based on if the crowd will latch on to “skinny fat or dumpster fire” chants.

Fashion Files….. Please end at or right after Summerslam… you are teetering on overstaying your welcome.

Quote of the Week
Kudos to Graves for The Simpsons reference “These two are like the modern day Radioactive Man and Fallout Boy” look at Enzo wearing shorts over his yoga pants
Match of the Week
Braun vs Roman – Last Man Standing (The Flying Chair)

Wrestling isn’t everything but everything is wrestling.

Raw / Smackdown Is….

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Smackdown continues to bounce back strongly after Battleground and Raw is putting more emphasis on its second hour over its first. As the Summerslam picture clears up, we may have injuries ruining plans. We also get a high profile roster cut that surely everyone saw coming.

Smackdown over delivered. It has gotten to the point where what are they having left for their PPV’s. It is odd to complain about getting good free matches but that is where we stand. Last week Smackdown had to recover from an awful ppv and this week they’re Summerslam picture took a clearer shape.

Smackdown continues to have a smoother opening flow over Raw. This week we got straight into a US Title rematch between Styles and Owens. This bout was another example of a rematch that turned out better on free tv over the ppv. The referee took a glancing hit that blinded him from seeing Owens shoulders raised during the pin. As a consequence we will now have a rematch at Summerslam with a special guest referee, one isn’t as fragile as a toothpick. Would’ve been cool if Daniel Bryan chose himself instead of Shane O’ Mac but WWE can’t risk Bryan having any contact.

I won’t be shy to say that Nakumara has been underwhelming since his call up. However John Cena is at the point in his career and schedule that he is best utilized putting guys over. No longer can anyone say Cena only has the five moves of doom he has been giving high calibur matches for a long time now and helped bring out the best in a guy like Nakumara who finally got to work with a ring general like Cena. Grant it Nakumara dropped Cena on his neck and that was a kind of highlight you only see in Japan, it only added to a match better than any Smackdown ppv has provided.

After the show went off air Baron Corbin attacked Nakumara while 205 was airing on the Network. Original planning was for Corbin to interfere during the match, but perhaps WWE want people to turn the network on after Smackdown so for the first time they continued a Smackdown story on 205. Corbin then received an AA from Cena through the announce table, kicking off a Cena vs Corbin program for Summerslam. This will be Cena’s last Smackdown program before transitioning to Raw after Summerslam. The Nakumara vs Jinder program cuts the legs off of Jinder’s argument of xenophobia. Nakumara is more foreign than Jinder, but he’s beloved. Unfortunately the WWE Championship has fallen far from grace since the introduction of the Universal Title. I am hoping a significant win by Nakumara can help elevate it back.

Raw basically ended after the triple threat. I enjoy a main event match not going on last, because this way I won’t calculate how much time the match will be given. However it makes the remaining hour become a cool down period before the next days Smackdown.

Are there any two people that are as talented on the mic but no longer have anything intriguing to say as Bray Wyatt and Enzo Amore. When you become all bark and no bite it become impossible to believe in your character and we start to question if you even believe in yourself. Enzo has become repetitive going back into the bouncing checks analogy he’s done before. Bray continues to find his motivation for fighting someone out of thin air. Always something about their world not matching his. I expect Finn and Bray to have a good match at Summerslam but I want to see the reasoning for Demon Balor be more focused than we see now.
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The Raw tag division has gained momentum since Revivals return and the new development of The Club becoming tweeners. It is a shame that the progress won’t have the reward of Tag Title gold. The Shield storyline will take precedence in the division and the titles will become the reason for their uneasy alliance to continue.
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Brainstorming ways we can see Seth regaining Dean’s trust. Trust falls? Warning him not to open that soda cause it was shook? Have Dean drop a dollar and Seth return it to him. We need to see some bound reform between these two, before there is a miscommunication that will push Dean over the edge.
Dean’s heel turn should be based on a psychological breakdown of him not being able to forget and forgive. He is not ready, but it’s as if too many people are pushing him to do so. Then Seth can win the IC belt and that will be another thing Seth has taken from Dean and then boom Dean snaps.

Bayley’s injured shoulder is sad. It may be the wrong time for it to occur to her, but may be the best time for the women’s division.

How I think she will be remembered. She had a job solely off her look that was mostly make up fake boobs and a hair color. Her longevity was based on her Total Divas role. She tried to use wrestling as a stepping stone. Fans see through that BS and have booed her out of the business.

Quote of the Week:
Corey Graves talking to Revival about their Twitter feud with the Hardys. “ just to be fair I reported them on twitter on a terms and service violation”

Match of the week: Nakumara vs Cena

Wrestling isn’t everything but everything is wrestling

Raw / Smackdown Is….

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In what played out like a therapy session between scorned lovers, Seth Rollins finally apologized to Dean. He finally said the words “I’m sorry” in what was a heart cutting segment between the former Shield brothers. Will Dean ever get over the betrayal? Is payback still due? Did we really hear a Roman chant to reunite the Shield? It is obvious to everyone that the Ambrose vs Miz feud has to end. The Miztourage will serve as the catalyst for either a Seth Intercontinental run or an Ambrose heel turn. The Universal Title picture is going through a big man phase right now and it won’t end until Brock drops the belt. Keep all of these guys interesting by having the two hash out past grievances.

I like that they addressed this private matter needing to be handled in the most public way, you know being that we live in this social world we all might as well just spill all the beans because we can’t control what is shared anymore. This is footage of Kurt Angle’s final date with Jason Jordan’s mom.
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Remember when the Big Show was Andre the Giants son. It’s okay if you didn’t because he’s built a career outside of that first characteristic that was placed on him. I worry for Jason Jordan in the same way I would’ve worried for The Giant (Big Show) back in his debut. It took The Big Show a company change to not be identified as Andre the Giants illegitimate son. Jason Jordan can only hope to have enough longevity for this segment to be forgotten. In the short term this is great for Jordan as it gets him in the spotlight.
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Where this left Chad Gable was an uncomfortable scripted interview. With Talking Smack canceled I can only expect to see Renee Young to stiff line feeding interviews. She’s best off loose and off the cuff. I feel for her, it must be frustrating when you keep getting cut at the knees at doing what you do best.

Did Big Cass’ new theme change or just get louder and add some transformers noises. How can Enzo ever have a career in the ring after this feud, his notebook of quips must be running dry cause he is repeating lines. He is never anyone to fear. Even Spike Dudley was more of a threat.

We don’t need to bring up 9/11 for a silly Wrestling Flag on a pole match. I understand the overplayed patriotic angle, but we Cena should show some constraint. This is going to be a quick throw away feud before Cena’s Summerslam program.
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This is the best spot for Anderson and Gallows right now. They’ll change shows and invade as the beat them up bad asses. Breezango can afford a loss and it will maintain The Club in an angle the audience is already invested in. Plus Smackdown will get another great grappler in Anderson.

BATTLEGROUND predictions.
Randy Orton vs Jinder Mahal – Jinder will win with the help of the Sig brothers. WINNER Jinder

John Cena vs Rusev – This will be the surprise match of the night. It is both mens PPV return and the flag gimmick is not too intrusive of a rule.

Kevin Owens vs AJ Styles – The US Title open challenge is too good of a concept to hype, to not keep the Title on AJ.

Wrestling isn’t everything but everything is wrestling

Raw / Smackdown Is….

There was an extremely busy week in and out of the squared circle. Great Balls of Fire is the best PPV of the year thus far. A classic iron man tag match. We saw Alexa and Sasha spark some in ring chemistry. An ambulance match that harkened back to the attitude era. And a furious crowd pleasing fight between Brock and Samoa Joe.

Did we see a double turn at Great Balls of Fire? Was Roman Reigns seeing his chances of being the top babyface fade away through the mirror of that ambulance? That was the buzz and excitement in the air going into Raw. But we were again letdown. It’s apparently okay in 2017 for a babyface to attempt murder. Roman, like the privileged chosen one he’s been acting like, appointed himself as the number one contender for the Universal Title. Brock laughed it off with a quick appeal of you don’t deserve shit. Logically Brock is right, Reigns loss his match. As did Samoa Joe, but I haven’t seen Brock enjoy work as much as he is now with Samoa Joe.

Braun is WWE’s top babyface and he is doing it with a very thin amount of dialogue. This week he even played on our empathy strings as he valiantly stumbled away from the caved in ambulance. Bruised and bloody, refusing help, determined to finish off Roman Reigns.
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Big Cass is getting the boos every heel wants. Time will tell if they’re boos of hatred, boredom, or we don’t believe you’ll ever be Universal Champion so stop wasting time. If anyone has ever doubted Big Cass, I would say they’re a good judge of talent.

So AJ Styles won the United States Championship at the hallowed grounds of Madison Square Garden. It is a rare occurrence to see a title change hands at a house show, but to do this every once in awhile should keep house shows intriguing. Why did Owens have to lose the title? Perhaps because they wanted AJ to bring back the US open challenge. He did exactly that on Tuesday, and Joohhnn Ceeena responded to the challenge.
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I actually got off the computer, laid back and raised the volume. But of course WWE isn’t going to give that match away unannounced and for free. Instead we fell back into the pattern of turning this into a tag match when KO and Rusev interrupted. The dangling fruit of Cena vs AJ is too tempting to not put on Summerslam.
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Final prediction on Kurt Angle’s controversy. It has come to light that he and Stephanie McMahon had an affair back in the early 00’s. This is something HHH does not know. This will lead to an Angle vs Triple H program.

Quote of the Week: Booker, “Samson looking to put himself in contentionship” Graves, “That’s not a word Booker”
Match of the Week – Braun Strowman vs Roman Reigns

Austin Aries was suddenly released on Saturday. I could understand why Austin would be unhappy. He had all the tools to at least be a cruiser weight champion, but creative didn’t see it and now the last image of Aries is him with a sourpuss face.

Alberto Del Rio is continuing his campaign as the most insufferable piece of crap in the industry. There is a domestic abuse investigation underway, from an incident occurring at an airport with Paige. There is audio out where we hear Paige saying she always wants to get away from Del Rio. I feel for Paige and the roller-coaster of the last 2 years she’s gone through. Hopefully we can chalk it up to dumb youth and see her turn things around.

Talking Smack has been canceled. I want to blame 205 Live being a poor lead in. Talking Smack was the closest WWE gets to shoot interviews and one of the only places we see superstars let their hair down. The Miz and Kevin Owens were the best at using the platform, and Daniel Bryan ever had any qualms putting down Smackdown’s competition. Talking Smack, you will be missed.

Wrestling isn’t everything but everything is wrestling

Raw / Smackdown Is….

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The gangsta tears have been dropped. The 7 foot falls have been taken. The brotherhood has been unbounded. Enzo and Cass were given the opening of Raw which was a satisfying change of pace to have the undercard get the prime position. Enzo gave his greatest promo perhaps because he had no need to work with Cass. He no longer has to write for Cass, the seven foot catch phrase that Enzo wrote. Enzo nearly buried Cass as it became more obvious who the brains of the team was. I will be expecting CassHole shirts to be produced as Enzo’s final parting gift to Cass. “I have never heard anyone talk for so long without saying anything” lead to a backstage brawl. A perfect go home segment for the two. The hype has been built.

R.I.P. Bayley. Cause of death, revenge from all the dancing inflatables she has punched. I just don’t think the Women’s division is structured to have a John Cena archetype. Rumors have swirled that Bayley’s Summerslam story will revolve around her encountering her first kiss. If that is the case, she may be better off getting knocked out in the middle of matches. Raw has suffered since losing Charlotte and Smackdown has been on the rise, without even fully utilizing Charlotte. Smackdown has been able to plant seeds of branching story lines, whereas Raw only has a focus on the championship.

The go home segment for Brock vs Samoa Joe, had me worried. Brock did not put much acting into his performances. It was like seeing the cardinal sin of improv being committed. Brock was not Yes Anding anything Joe was throwing him. This lead me to believe Brock is losing steam in his dedication to this program. Hopefully he get’s professional and gives Joe a respectable match.

John Cena can go wherever he wants. If he is becoming an attraction draw than just like the Americans he represents he too should have the Freedom to go where he pleases fight anyone. America America America, Give me the Bulgarian Rusev. There is oversaturation with Jinder and Randy already claiming the national pride angle. I get that it was easy to retread these waters on Independence Day, but Cena can do more next week to steer it away from it.
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The Miz continues to make the IC Title relevant and he absolutely spoke the truth about Dean Ambrose’s pendulum falling too far into the comedy realm to ever be taken seriously as the huge superstar he was rising to be after The Shield.

Match of the Week: AJ Styles vs Chad Gable

A lot of good quotes this week, but It has got to come from the rap battle.
“Keep this PG if you could, just don’t go rated R like your boy Xavier Woods” Usos.. Unfortunately they edited that out for Youtube.
“You turned the universe into believers, but please remember you were absolutely nothing till your wife put you on Total Divas” Xavier Woods

Great Balls Of Fire: Predictions
Samoa Joe vs Brock Lesnar (Universal Champion) – Brock will not be beaten in a manner that Goldberg had, but he will turn purple at a point. There is a chance Heyman will become involved which will help Joe to remain looking strong despite taking the loss. WINNER: Brock Lesnar.

Braun Strowan vs Roman Reigns – The bravest thing for creative to do would be giving any of these two a clean purely wrestling in ring win. It’s an ambulance match, so I will not be surprised if we just get a no finish double KO. WINNER: No Finish

Seth Rollins vs Bray Wyatt – Bray needs momentum going into who ever he is feuding with for Summerslam. This is the position Bray always finds himself in, but if Finn is going to be the Summerslam program we need to see Bray get wins. Seth can eat a loss and still be wanted as a champ. WINNER: Bray Wyatt.

Sasha Banks vs Alexa Bliss (Women’s Champion) – I would say Nia Jax will benefit from helping the Goddess Alexa Bliss. Her reasoning being that Sasha has defeated Nia and Nia will see an easier route to the title. WINNER: Alexa Bliss.

Enzo Amore vs Big Cass – Big Cass will squash Enzo. Enzo will keep on taking hits and keep on coming, he’ll be beaten to the point where the fans will ask for mercy. We will get a lot of shots of a weak Enzo looking up at Cass. WINNER: Big Cass.

Wrestling isn’t everything but everything is wrestling.

Raw / Smackdown Is…

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It was all laughs….. and then the “N” word was dropped twice
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And WWE was like…
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Quick hits this week.
Raw was more eventful than it is being given credit for. The lows were very low and useless to story like Dean teaming up with Rhyno and Heath. But the highs of Braun destroying Roman again and Samoa Joe choking Brock until he was above his normal level of red added more fuel to the fires.

Big Cass and Enzo acted extremely genuine. Enzo looks like a man who sees his career ending.

Raw ended with its first ever Women’s Gauntlet Match where Nia Jax lasted over 30 minutes before she fell to a modified bank statement. Sasha Banks hasn’t looked this great since the re-draft. Baylay was quickly dismissed and word is her TV time is getting cut down.

Smackdown didn’t have much, but thankfully they are still showing matches while running commercials. It’s a necessary evil of the two hour programming and certainly is something that the wrestlers need to consider when pacing their match, however The Uso’s vs Hype Bros came back from break and only lasted an additional 15 seconds.

The women have been in the spotlight and had an opportunity to redeem their Money In The Bank controversy. They had a better ladder match than previously and the direction seems to have Carmella pitted against Becky Lynch who are the two best women on the mic today. It’s a feud that can raise Becky in the power rankings, something her fans have been waiting for. Carmella can take losses now because she has the briefcase.

Smackdown has the Fashion Vice so that is always a must watch.

Match of the Week: It’s a toss up between The Women’s Gauntlet and Nikki Cross v Asuka in the first Last Woman Standing match. Nikki Cross is taking it, because she is just great with her mannerisms and character and they put on a Takeover caliber match.

Wrestling isn’t everything but everything is wrestling.