Date: March 10, 2019
Location: Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
Commentators: Tom Phillips, Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, Renee Young, Corey Graves
I’m not sure what to think of with this show as there’s only so much that can be done with a show that clearly serves as nothing more than a last stop on the way to Wrestlemania. There are some matches tonight that could go somewhere but a lot of what we’ll be seeing is going to be a stepping stone towards next month. Let’s get to it.
Kickoff Show: New Day vs. Shinsuke Nakamura/Rusev
Lana is in Nakamura/Rusev’s corner and has her hair cut to its NXT length. It’s Big E./Xavier Woods for New Day here with Woods and Nakamura starting things off. Some whips into the corner don’t work for Nakamura as Woods snaps off a headscissors for an early two. A kick to the head drops Woods though and we take an early break.
Back with Rusev driving shoulders into Woods’ ribs in the corner and slapping on a bearhug. Nakamura comes back in for a front facelock as we go split screen to show Miz talking to his dad about bringing the titles home tonight. Shane McMahon comes in to say the same and the former champs are ready. Back to full screen with Woods getting away and making the hot tag to Big E. for some short form house cleaning. Nakamura’s guillotine choke slows things down but Big E. suplexes him away without much effort.
Nakamura snaps the throat across the ropes and gets two off a middle rope knee to the chest. Woods comes back in and gets kicked in the head, setting up a DDT to give Rusev two. A wheelbarrow suplex gets two and the sliding knee from Nakamura connects for the same. Woods rolls over for the tag to Big E. but Lana crotches Woods to break up UpUpDownDown.
The Machka Kick gets two on Big E. as Woods makes a diving save. Woods’ running flip dive onto both villains is countered into a double powerbomb for two back inside and Rusev is stunned. The Accolade goes on but Big E. going after Nakamura is enough for the break. It’s back t Big E. and now UpUpDownDown can connect for the pin at 13:18.
Rating: B. This was a downright good match that got more time than I was expecting to see. They had the chemistry rolling with Big E. and Woods, the weaker of the New Day combinations, more than hanging with two solid midcard stars. I’m not wild on Rusev taking the pin, but it’s the logical result here.
The Rey Mysterio vs. Andrade match has been removed from the Kickoff Show and added to the main show as part of a four way for the US Title, also involving Samoa Joe and R-Truth.
The opening video looks at everyone trying to get to Wrestlemania. That would be a more effective theme is the show wasn’t likely to have fifteen matches with more than half of them being multi-person matches.
Smackdown Tag Team Titles: Usos vs. Shane McMahon/The Miz
Shane and Miz are challenging after losing the titles last month with Miz’s dad in the front row. Shane kicks at Jimmy to start as Jey talks about Shane’s shoes. Jimmy gets knocked down into the corner and Miz comes in for some double stomps. A Hart Attack gets two on Jimmy as Graves keeps ripping on Miz’s dad. Jey comes in and Shane walks into a clothesline to put the champs in control.
The chinlock goes on for a good while until Shane fights up with a tornado DDT. That’s enough for the hot tag off to Miz, who cleans house to take over. Miz sends the Usos outside for a big dive off the top (you don’t see that very often) which gets some applause from Miz’s dad. Back in and Jimmy gets two off a Samoan drop with Shane making the save.
Shane gets knocked down and it’s the Skull Crushing Finale to Jey but the referee is checking on Shane, meaning it’s only a near fall. Jey sends Miz into the post but the Usos spend too much time yelling at Miz’s dad, allowing Miz to get two off a rollup. With Jimmy down in the corner, Shane goes up so Jey gets up on the other corner. Jey goes to dive at Miz but Shane dropkicks him out of the air for a good looking crash. Miz goes up for a splash which hits knees, allowing Jimmy to roll him up for the pin to retain at 14:09.
Rating: B-. It was an entertaining match with Miz trying harder than usual but there’s only so much you can do to get around the fact that this is designed to set up Miz vs. Shane at Wrestlemania. There are so many other teams who could have been used in this spot but for some reason we’re stuck watching these two do their thing about Miz and his dad. I’m not sure who is supposed to care about this story, but I don’t think too many people are.
Post match Miz and Shane shake hands and go over to Miz’s dad. Everything seems ok until Shane jumps Miz, because we’re getting face Miz vs. heel Shane at Wrestlemania. Shane even shoves Miz’s dad and uses his well known MMA skills for a triangle choke on Miz. The hold is finally let go and Miz’s dad comes over the barricade to check on him. I’m so glad we’re giving Shane McMahon this story instead of all the people sitting on the sidelines. You have people leaving because they can’t get a spot, and Shane is getting featured in the first half hour of a pay per view.
Bobby Lashley, Baron Corbin and Drew McIntyre are ready to break the Shield again.
Here’s Elias for a song. He makes fun of Miz, mocks Cleveland and mentions Lebron James….and that’s it.
Smackdown Women’s Title: Mandy Rose vs. Asuka
Asuka is defending after Mandy (with Sonya Deville in her corner) pinned her in a non-title match a few weeks back. Mandy grabs a headlock to start but gets caught in an ankle lock. That’s enough to bring Sonya up to the apron, allowing Mandy to knee Asuka in the face for a closer two than it should have been. The abdominal stretch goes on with Graves praising Mandy even more than usual, sending Phillips into obvious fits of laughter on commentary.
The hold is reversed into an Octopus Hold as Sonya randomly looks underneath the ring. Asuka goes with the strikes into a release German suplex for two. A sliding knee gets two more but the running hip attack misses, allowing Mandy to score with another jumping knee. Asuka knees her even harder so Sonya goes underneath the ring for a kendo stick. Mandy trips over the raised ring skirt though and Asuka scores with a kick to the head to retain at 6:38.
Rating: C. Mandy has gotten way better in a hurry and that’s a good sign for her future. Just looking at her, you would expect her to be nothing but eye candy, but she’s actually turned into someone worthwhile who can have a good match with a lot of people. This was WAY better than it had any right to be, though the ending was a big head scratch inducing.
Post match Mandy doesn’t want to hear from Sonya.
Earlier tonight, Kofi Kingston was told to go see the McMahons about the Smackdown World Title match. He’s still waiting outside when the rest of New Day comes up to say they need to go in now. Woods and Big E. give Vince a great speech about how Kofi has been waiting for eleven years and now it needs to be a triple threat. Vince makes it a triple threat with Kofi in the title match RIGHT NOW with New Day barred from ringside.
Smackdown World Title: Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens
Bryan is defending. Actually hang on a second as Kofi has his entrance, but we’re told the match is taking place later tonight. Instead we get this.
Kofi Kingston vs. The Bar
The Bar doesn’t have to tag so the double teaming is on in a hurry. Kofi tries to fight back but is quickly taken down for a double leg crank. The beating heads to the floor but this time Kofi actually knocks Sheamus down on the apron. Cesaro catches him inside though and the powerbomb/top rope clothesline combination destroys Kofi again. The fans declare this boring as the Brogue Kick gets two with Cesaro pulling Kofi up. Cue New Day for the save but Rusev/Nakamura cut them off. The super White Noise finishes Kofi with feet on the chest at 5:08.
Rating: D. Pure angle advancement and that’s fine. There’s only so much you can get out of something like this and you can’t blame the wrestlers for not having a good match here. Kofi’s push towards the title like this feels a bit rushed though and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him lose again to set up the (hopeful) title change at Wrestlemania.
Sasha Banks and Bayley are ready to defend the titles against anyone and they’re ready for Nia Jax and Tamina tonight.
Elias sings again, this time about how Kofi and Miz looked like Cleveland Cavaliers.
We recap Shane turning on Miz. It was less than 45 minutes ago!
Shane has nothing to say.
Raw Tag Team Titles: Revival vs. Aleister Black/Ricochet vs. Chad Gable/Bobby Roode
The Revival is defending so the challengers send them outside in all of two seconds. Roode and Gable join them on the floor, leaving Ricochet and Black to moonsault into their poses. We settle down to Gable waistlocking Ricochet down but getting thrown off for a break. Wilder tags himself in and it’s quickly off to Dawson for an assisted suplex. Gable tags himself in as well and gets two off his own suplex. The armbar doesn’t last long as Dawson comes in and drops Ricochet ribs first across the top rope.
Some elbows get two but Ricochet rolls forward for a dropkick to Dawson. That’s enough for a double tag to bring in Black and Roode with Aleister cleaning house. It’s too early for Black Mass as Roode sends the kick into Dawson and spinebusters Black for two. Everything breaks down and Gable German suplexes Dawson with Wilder coming off the top with a splash for the save.
Ricochet’s shooting star gets two with Roode making a save of his own. Everyone heads outside with Ricochet and Dawson being left on top. Ricochet hurricanranas him down, landing head first on the apron in the process. Thankfully he’s not dead and hits a running flip dive over the top onto Roode, with Gable tagging himself in as Ricochet is flying through the air (legal, believe it or not). It’s a bad idea though as the Shatter Machine finishes Gable to retain the titles at 10:47.
Rating: B. This was good stuff with another obvious winner, which will lead to Revival losing the non-title matches for weeks. It’s smart to have Roode/Gable take the fall (as they could have for weeks instead of Revival) as Black and Ricochet are still new and shouldn’t be getting pinned yet. It’s the best match of the night so far, though I’m not sure how strong of a compliment that is.
Post match the Revival goes after Black and Ricochet, earning a 630.
US Title: Samoa Joe vs. R-Truth vs. Andrade vs. Rey Mysterio
Bonus match with Joe defending. All three challengers go to the floor so Joe is right there with a suicide elbow to all three of them. Back inside and Joe headbutts Andrade down in the corner but Truth is back up to take over. Rey comes in to send Andrade and Truth down but Joe runs Rey over. A heck of a tornado DDT gives Rey two on Joe so Andrade takes Rey up top.
Truth makes a save and it’s a super hurricanrana to Andrade to give Truth two with Rey breaking it up with a slingshot legdrop. Rey dives at Joe and gets caught, only to have Andrade missile dropkick both of them. Andrade isn’t done as he hits two of Three Amigos, with Rey reversing the third into a small package for two. With Andrade on the floor, Rey hits a hurricanrana off the apron, leaving Zelina Vega to kick Truth in the head.
That means a fight with Carmella, so Joe Rock Bottoms Rey for two. Truth fights back and hits the Five Knuckle Shuffle on Joe but the ax kick misses. That means a whip into the post to get rid of Truth but Rey is there with the 619. Dropping the Dime misses though and Joe chokes Rey out to retain at 10:51.
Rating: B-. It’s not as good as their match on Smackdown but what we got here was good while it lasted. I was worried they would switch the title already so it’s a relief that Joe got to retain. It’s a positive sign that he might actually keep the title and stick around as champion for more than a few weeks.
Women’s Tag Team Titles: Boss N Hug Connection vs. Tamina/Nia Jax
Beth Phoenix is on commentary. Bayley/Sasha Banks are defending and Graves is suggesting a split in the near future. Banks kicks Nia in the face to start and it’s off to Bayley so Nia throws Banks at her for a good visual. Tamina comes in to take over and the Samoans take turns beating on her in the corner.
A mini hot shot gets rid of Tamina though and it’s back to Banks to pick up the pace. Everything breaks down with Banks trying a suicide dive but getting pulled out of the air. Bayley dives onto the three of them before throwing Nia back in for a Meteora. The top rope elbow gets two with Tamina making the save, leaving Bayley to hurricanrana Nia for the pin to retain at 7:00.
Rating: D+. Well, they tried, and by they I mean Banks and Bayley. Nia and Tamina were as useless as ever here as big dragons who could barely move, as tends to be the case almost every time they’re out there. What in the world are you supposed to do with two monsters who can barely move? The champs need something better than this, but you can almost guarantee that Nia and Tamina will get another chance because they always do.
Post match the beatdown is on again until Beth gets up from commentary. Nia and Tamina beat her down until Natalya makes the save. The Samoans beat her down as well and stand tall. This is an exact summary of what is wrong with Nia: she’s a monster who loses a lot and then is right back the next week/night/two minutes later being a monster again. She lost a match FIVE MINUTES AGO and now we’re supposed to buy her as a monster. Graves asked “who is going to stop them”. Uh, BAYLEY AND SASHA PERHAPS???
This is what I mean when I say Nia needs to go away for a long time, but WWE insists on her being there. Oh and great: Natalya/Beth vs. Tamina/Nia is going to be on Wrestlemania now. A match that no one was asking for but we’re getting it anyway because that show isn’t going to be long enough already.
We recap Daniel Bryan vs. Kevin Owens. Kofi was originally supposed to get the shot but Vince got all evil and replaced him with Owens. Kevin has beaten Bryan in a tag match with a Stunner, though he feels like a filler challenger until Kofi gets the real shot.
Smackdown World Title: Kevin Owens vs. Daniel Bryan
Bryan is defending….and this is still going to be a triple threat match.
Smackdown World Title: Kevin Owens vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Mustafa Ali
Bryan, with Rowan in his corner, is defending and the fans are immediately there with the WE WANT KOFI chants. The bell rings and Bryan yells at the two of them, earning himself a double beatdown. Owens: “Save the planet somewhere else you idiot!” With Bryan down on the floor it’s Owens running Ali over with a shoulder. Bryan gets back in and starts with the kicks as the KOFI chants get even louder.
They all head outside with Owens Cannonballing them both against the barricade for two on Bryan. Ali comes back in and goes up top, where Bryan dropkicks him down into the barricade for a heck of a bump. That leaves Owens to take the kicks in the corner and it’s off to an armbar, drawing more KOFI chants. Bryan moonsaults over Owens out of the corner and hits the running clothesline but stops to kick Ali back outside.
The YES Kicks have Owens in more trouble as Ali comes back in for the rolling X Factor. Bryan runs him over again but Owens is up with the superkicks. Ali jumps on Owens’ back, only to be dropped down onto Bryan for a huge crash. It’s Bryan heading up top but having his Doomsday Device broken up and a super Spanish Fly plants him. Ali reverse hurricanranas Owens into position for the 054, which only hits mat. The Stunner gives Owens two on Ali and a Pop Up Powerbomb gets the same on Bryan.
Another powerbomb onto the apron is countered into a backdrop but Bryan’s running knee hit the post. Ali hits a 450 onto Bryan on the apron with Rowan making the save at two. Owens and Ali superkick the monster down but Ali’s dive is caught. Owens adds a big running flip dive but Bryan is right there with the running knee from the apron. Another running knee misses Bryan and Ali is right back with a middle rope tornado DDT to the floor.
Owens is back up to drop Ali again but Rowan sends Bryan inside and Owens through the timekeeper’s area. Back in and Bryan gets two as the fans get another chance to chant for Kofi. Bryan slaps Ali in the face while shouting YOU DON’T DESERVE TO BE HERE so Ali slaps back and goes up, only to dive into a knee to the face to retain Bryan’s title at 18:39.
Rating: B+. Distracting chants aside, this was a strong three way with the right winner (of the available options). The problem right now is WWE running basically the same story with Becky and Kofi and they’re risking the fans just not caring after being teased so many times. It works well enough if the title changes happen at Wrestlemania, but all these changes for the sake of changes and things happening during the shows are getting old.
Post match Rowan claw slams Ali.
We recap Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch. Becky was supposed to go to Wrestlemania but Vince said no and put Charlotte in the match instead. Then Stephanie decided to let Becky have another chance so if she wins tonight, she goes to Wrestlemania in a triple threat for the Raw Women’s Title.
Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte
Becky limps to the ring on a crutch and also has a bad arm and bad ribs. She throws the crutch away and we’re ready to go with Charlotte easily taking things into the corner. Becky fights out of the corner with one right hand, only to have Charlotte say you’ll have to do more than that. A half crab wrecks the knee even more and Charlotte chop blocks the leg down.
Becky tries to fight back with a shot to the face but gets taken down with another chop block. Charlotte stays cocky and heads up top until Becky shoves her off and into the barricade for the big crash. Back in and the Becky gets the Disarm-Her, which is reversed into a Figure Eight….and here’s Ronda Rousey to hit Becky for the DQ to make it a triple threat at Wrestlemania at 8:43.
Rating: D. So the top face in the whole thing is beaten down again while the fresh heel runs in and attacks said face, thereby giving the fans what they want, while making sure Becky looks like a loser in the process. I’m sure we’ll hear from Stephanie about the whole thing though because this story is somehow her and her family. This is another match that could have been on Raw and no one would have noticed much of a difference.
Elias sings some more about how awful Cleveland is and says he’s done for the night. Lacey Evans comes out for her cameo and leaves as always. Randy Orton comes in with an RKO to Elias but walks into the Phenomenal Forearm from AJ Styles.
We recap the Shield vs. Baron Corbin/Bobby Lashley/Drew McIntyre. The Shield is back due to Roman Reigns being in remission. The other three are here because Shield needs targets.
Shield vs. Baron Corbin/Bobby Lashley/Drew McIntyre
Cole hypes up the idea of this being the last time for the Shield because Ambrose isn’t re-signing. The fight is on before the bell and the Shield clears the ring without much effort. Lashley takes Rollins into the corner to start and hands it off to Corbin, who gets taken into the middle buckle with a Downward Spiral. Ambrose comes in and fights McIntyre for a few moments before handing it back to Reigns, who doesn’t get much of a reaction.
McIntyre forearms him a few times before it’s quickly back to Rollins for a wishbone stretch. Corbin comes back in and takes over on Rollins, including the required chinlock. Seth fights up but gets cut off by McIntyre. That means a kick to the face and it’s back to Ambrose to take over. Dean sends McIntyre outside for a top rope elbow to the head but Lashley hits the spear. Ambrose barely beats the count back inside so Lashley plants him with a Downward Spiral for two.
A suplex and the rebound lariat to McIntyre are enough to bring in Reigns to wreck things. The apron dropkick to Corbin gets two as everything breaks down. Rollins and Ambrose hit stereo suicide dives onto McIntyre and Lashley, leaving Reigns’ big dive…to get cut off by Deep Six for two. Dean runs the announcers’ tables to take out Lashley, McIntyre and Rollins so Reigns and Corbin can slug it out.
Corbin chokeslams Reigns as the other four fight into the crowd by the Kickoff Show set. Reigns gets two off a sitout powerbomb as Rollins dives off a balcony to dive onto the other three. We get some miscommunication with Corbin trying his slide underneath the ropes and running through Reigns’ boot to the face like it didn’t make contact. A Superman Punch gets two as everyone is back to ringside.
End of Days hits Reigns with Rollins and Ambrose diving in for the save. Reigns almost gets TripleBombed through the announcers’ table but another save is made. A Stomp knocks Lashley silly and Reigns spears Corbin. There’s the TripleBomb to put McIntyre through the table and Corbin is left alone in the ring. One more TripleBomb finishes Corbin at 24:52.
Rating: B-. It was good, but egads the IT’S THE LAST TIME got obnoxious by the end. There was almost no doubt about how this was going and I don’t know how many people believe that it’s the last time for the team. At least Corbin took the fall instead of either of the other two, though it’s not like they had any chance between them. As usual, the Shield reunions weren’t great but that’s become the standard anymore.
Shield poses to end the show.
Overall Rating: B-. Yeah the show was watchable and even good at times, but I don’t remember a more annoying pay per view in a long time. The show is just now over and I don’t think I can remember one single thing here that felt like it mattered. There was good action, but nothing we haven’t seen done better before (in one case, earlier this week). WWE made it very clear that this show didn’t matter and that’s what we got here: a show that didn’t change anything and if you skipped it, you wouldn’t miss anything. I feel like I wasted my time tonight and that’s one of the worst feelings you can have coming out of a show.
Usos b. Miz/Shane McMahon – Small package to Miz
Asuka b. Mandy Rose – Kick to the head
The Bar b. Kofi Kingston – Super White Noise
Revival b. Aleister Black/Ricochet and Bobby Roode/Chad Gable – Shatter Machine to Gable
Samoa Joe b. R-Truth, Andrade and Rey Mysterio – Koquina Clutch to Mysterio
Sasha Banks/Bayley b. Tamina/Nia Jax – Hurricanrana to Jax
Daniel Bryan b. Mustafa Ali and Kevin Owens – Knee to Ali
Becky Lynch b. Charlotte via DQ when Ronda Rousey interfered
Shield b. Baron Corbin/Drew McIntyre/Bobby Lashley – TripleBomb to Corbin
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