Taped from London, England (despite Michael's Cole claim that the show was live).
We didn't get the usual "up is down in London" spiel at the beginning of the show, and the announcers seemed to revel in the entire arena booing Roman Reigns with passion. Reigns, for his part, took out his frustrations on Jinder Mahal in two separate segments, and capped his night off by spearing Mahal through a cardboard "wall." Reigns' motivations made sense - Mahal cost him a chance at the MitB, so Reigns made sure Mahal never made it into a qualifying match. Of course, there are many weeks to go to MiTB, but I imagine the two remaining spots will get filled on SD and we get Roman v Mahal at the PPV.
Mahal's spot in the qualifier went to Kevin Owens instead, who pulled some strings with the Authority to go over Angle's head and get himself inserted into that match. He came good after Sami Zayn wasted Lashley with the Helluva Kick and left KO to frog splash and pin Elias. All Elias really wanted was to perform during the match, and the crowd was all for it, too, chanting "let him sing!" The crowd reaction to Lashley, however, remained anemic. The juxtaposition of Reigns begging of chances and not getting them, and Owens getting them at will is fascinating and there's a rich story there for the future should they choose to mine it.
KO was pulling double-duty, earlier he'd brought (burned? I couldn't resist) the house down in the match of the night with Seth Rollins. KO dug deep into his arsenal, and Seth matched him move for move. The Falcon Arrow on the apron, KO's nasty packaged neckbreaker, the fisherman's buster off the top, it was all on display, and it was glorious. The finish came when KO was just a second too slow getting into the ring, and Seth took advantage to nail the Blackout. I'm usually weary of sudden finishes, but this was well executed and served to highlight the very small margin of error a contest of elite talents.
Sami Zayn had a wonderful, obnoxious promo in which he proclaimed that Prince Harry looked just like him, and he suffered vertigo from Lashley's suplex. Zayn said he was in touch with Lashley's sisters (on Facebook!) and promised to expose him next week. Also, there was this (twitter.com). He has a point; he's been wearing that hat since day one.
Ziggler and McIntyre had a match with Braun and Grinny Finn that served as an interesting tease for Strowman v McIntyre. The two did a lot of posing, but had very little physical interaction. It played into the finish, when Braun ran over Drew, but took himself out in the process, leaving Finn to get pinned by Dolph. Also, Braun casually used Finn as a weapon, and Finn wasn't a fan. Braun didn't care: "GET UP, YOU'RE FINE!" (twitter.com) Indeed.
Bobby Roode qualified for MiTB by beating Baron Corbin and No Way Jose, and Alexa Bliss qualified by beating Bayley and Mickie James. Bayley had a brief moment of reconciliation with Sasha backstage, but who the hell even knows what's going on between those two anymore? (Do people care?) Banks, for her part, won a pretty paint-by-numbers six-woman tag, teaming up with Natalya and Ember Moon against the Riott Squad. Ember Moon's electric dive to the outside was the highlight of this match, which Nattie won by tapping out Liv Morgan (who seems to have no other uses).
Nia Jax challenged Ronda Rousey for a title shot, and I appreciated Rousey's reluctance in accepting it, on account of there being other, more deserving women. That can serve as a catalyst for a heel turn that's almost certainly coming at MitB (probably Natalya, right?), unless they've given up on Nia's title reign. I think creatively, you don't want Ronda sitting out another PPV, and you don't want her in a ladder match she's unlikely to win, and you don't want her losing a qualifier, so this path makes sense.
Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas found a name for their team! They are the B-Team! They had homemade merch, too! They picked up a win over Breezango. These guys are lovable losers, and I don't begrudge them this little run at all. They're fun, and brought much-needed levity to the show. The Deleter of Worlds beat the Revival, but not before stopping to applaud Dash Wilder's WONDERFUL athleticism. (twitter.com) That's becoming my favorite spot of their matches.
This was a fun show, even though the crowd was strangely subdued for long periods of time. The wrestling was good-to-great, there were plenty of highspots, and they hit on several individual segments.
(edited by used2bcool on 15.5.18 0932) In a coat of gold or a coat of red, a lion still has claws And mine are long and sharp, my lord, as long and sharp as yours!
The question is - right now, HOW do they push Chris Benoit further than they already have? He's a very-established main eventer, but he can't realistically get the WWE Title until June or July without a)