Date: May 26, 2023
Location: Colonial Life Arena, Columbia, South Carolina
Commentators: Michael Cole, Wade Barrett
We are less than twenty four hours away from Night Of Champions and that means this week’s show is taped in advance. Tomorrow’s show is all but set and that should make for a card built around getting everything finalized. I’m sure there will be some extra stuff pushed as well so let’s get to it.
US Title: Sheamus vs. Austin Theory
Sheamus, with the Brawling Brutes, is challenging. The power game drops Theory early but Theory goes to the leg to take over. Theory tries his own forearms to the chest and gets cut out almost immediately. Sheamus gets posted hard and dropped onto the apron as we take a break. Back with Theory elbowing him in the face for one, followed by the chinlock.
Sheamus is right back up with a running corner clothesline and the Irish Curse gets two. A torture rack powerbomb puts Sheamus back down but a rolling something is cut off by Sheamus’ knee. The ten (and more) forearms to the chest rock Theory and the Brogue Kick is loaded up. Cue Pretty Deadly to go after the Brutes though and Theory rolls Sheamus up to retain at 12:18.
Rating: C+. Not a bad title defense for Theory and a six man isn’t out of the question as a result. Sheamus might not have felt like the biggest threat to take the title, but he’s still a former World Champion so it wasn’t completely out of the question. What matters is Theory gets another win over a big name to add to his rapidly growing resume in a completely watchable match.
Post match Sheamus chases Pretty Deadly off.
We look at the Bloodline’s recent issues.
The Bloodline is in the back, where Paul Heyman says the Usos won’t be at Night Of Champions but they can join Roman Reigns for the 1,000 day title celebration next week. Jimmy Uso doesn’t know what Reigns’ problem is and goes to leave but Reigns tells him to sit down.
Jimmy doesn’t sit, so Reigns gets up in front of him and asks if Jimmy is standing up to him. Reigns tells him to let it out and reminds him of the whippings he gave Jimmy back in the day. He can give Jimmy another one now but Jey gets up and says he and Jimmy will see Reigns next week as the Usos leave. This is the kind of thing that actually feels like we’re getting somewhere, but the big stuff is tomorrow and next week.
Shotzi/Raquel Rodriguez vs. Damage Ctrl
Rodriguez powers Bayley around to start before it’s off to Sky. A chokeslam is broken up as Bayley comes in off a blind tag and a dropkick gives Sky two. We take a break and come back with Rodriguez fighting out of the corner and handing it back to Shotzi for the house cleaning. Shotzi dropkicks Bayley for two but Sky’s distraction lets Bayley rake the eyes. Stereo kicks to the head knock Shotzi silly with Rodriguez having to make a save of her own.
A tiger suplex gives Shotzi two and it’s back to Rodriguez, who is sent face first into the middle buckle. Rodriguez powers Sky into the corner where Bayley tags herself in. Bayley tries a middle rope sunset flip but Sky comes in off the top with a dropkick to Shotzi/backsplash that…lands on Rodriguez’s back as she was sitting on Bayley. Rodriguez stays on Bayley and gets the pin at 9:07. It was described as “miscommunication” so we’ll go with that.
Rating: C. That ending was kind of a mess but the result was the right way to go. Somehow Sky cost Bayley the pin and that is another step towards Damage Ctrl’s split. The team isn’t doing well right now and there is a good chance that they won’t be around that much longer. Shotzi is Rodriguez’s latest short term partner and I can’t imagine they’ll be a team long term anyway.
We see part of the Seth Rollins interview where he talks about what the World Title means to him.
Video on AJ Styles’ WWE career.
Video on Grayson Waller.
Cameron Grimes vs. Ashante Thee Adonis
The rest of Hit Row is here with Adonis. Grimes drops him to start and hits a running shooting star press for an early two. A Top Dolla distraction lets Adonis hammer away with some knees to the back. Grimes flips out of a suplex and hits some running forearms into a hurricanrana. The Cave In finishes Adonis at 2:10. Short and Grimes won so no complaints here.
Post match Baron Corbin jumps Cameron Grimes and lays him out.
Video on Asuka vs. Bianca Belair.
Here is Bianca Belair to talk about Asuka. She doesn’t like what Asuka has been doing and it isn’t the same Asuka from Wrestlemania. If Asuka wants to fight she can come do it, so cue Asuka….from behind, to jump Belair. Asuka gets a cross armbreaker but referees and agents break it up. Belair tries a KOD but the agents catch Asuka, who slips away. It’s better than their Wrestlemania build at least.
Rick Boogs vs. LA Knight
The Street Profits join commentary as Boogs throws Knight outside to start. Boogs drops him onto the announcers’ table but takes too long to get back inside, allowing Knight to hammer away. The running knee connects in the corner and Knight slams the back of Boogs’ head into the mat. Boogs powers him away again and hits a backdrop. The Boogs Cruise is broken up though and Blunt Force Trauma finishes for Knight at 3:17.
Rating: C. Much like Grimes, what matters here is that the result went the right way. Beating Boogs might not be the biggest victory in the world, but it is a lot better than Knight taking another loss. The fans are into Knight and seeing him get any kind of momentum is a good thing. He could use more, but I’ll take what I can get.
Post match Knight promises to smoke the Street Profits.
Karrion Kross is ready to hurt AJ Styles.
Video on Isla Dawn/Alba Fyre.
Karrion Kross vs. AJ Styles
Scarlett is here with Kross. Styles gets powered into the corner to start but comes back with a kick to the face. Scarlett breaks up a springboard though and Kross superkicks Styles off the apron. Cue Michin to chase Scarlett off and we take a break. Back with Kross elbowing him in the face and grabbing a chinlock. Styles fights up with the Pele into a basement forearm, followed by the fireman’s carry backbreaker for two. Kross misses his running forearm to the back of the head and gets knocked backwards, setting up the Phenomenal Forearm for the pin at 9:24.
Rating: B-. Good enough match here as Styles needed a win to get some momentum heading into Night Of Champions. Styles is a legend in his own right but he has been out of action for a long time and has more or less been the other guy as Rollins marches to his title. Kross continues to just be kind of there, and I’m not sure what can be done to fix that.
Post break Styles says he’s ready to win the title.
Night Of Champions rundown.
Video on Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodes.
Here are Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn for the KO Show. They want Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa out here right now but here is Paul Heyman to interrupt. Heyman says Reigns will be here when he wants to be but here are the Usos to interrupt (Heyman isn’t sure about this). The Usos get in Owens/Zayn’s face but Owens points out that Zayn has been right about Reigns the entire time.
Owens says Reigns can call himself the head of the table, but the Usos are the heart of the table. The reality is that Reigns treats them more like the appendix. They went from being the best team ever to Reigns’ errand boy. Jimmy says that when it comes to the Usos, he is the Tribal Chief….and Heyman knows Jimmy just screwed everything up.
Cue Reigns and Owens can’t help but smile. Zayn: “Roman, you know it’s over right? The Bloodline is collapsing and it’s all your fault.” Reigns goes after Zayn but walks into a Stunner, meaning the fight is on. Solo Sikoa is here with the Spikes though and Reigns is back up to break a bunch of stuff. Zayn gets speared and Jey hands Sikoa some Tag Team Titles.
Jimmy won’t hand the others to Reigns but Jey takes them from him and hands them over. Reigns holds up all four titles as Jimmy walks around in the back (Jey does the pose) to end the show. That was another pretty big storytelling moment and the split is getting closer. Usos vs. Reigns/Sikoa down the line sounds like a pretty good main event.
Overall Rating: B-. There wasn’t any really great match on the show, but it hyped up Night Of Champions and gave us more of the Bloodline drama. The Night Of Champions Tag Team Title match and next week’s celebration are going to be interesting and we could be in for something big no matter what happens on Saturday. The rest of the show advanced enough stuff to stay interesting and while it wasn’t must see, it was good enough for a watch.
Austin Theory b. Sheamus – Rollup
Raquel Rodriguez/Shotzi b. Damage Ctrl – Rollup to Bayley
Cameron Grimes b. Ashante Thee Adonis – Cave In
LA Knight b. Rock Boogs – Blunt Force Trauma
AJ Styles b. Karrion Kross – Phenomenal Forearm
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