The Big Dog
Roman Reigns says he respects Kevin Owens, but he doesn't like him. He takes care of everyone's family. Reigns calls out Adam Pearce. "I've got a nice package that I want you to get eyes on." Reigns is unhappy that Owens got a match with Jey Uso. I wake up on Fridays like "I get to watch the Big Dog of the World Wrestling Federation cut promos today." Reigns intimidates Adam Pearce for booking a gauntlet match and accuses him of thinking he or Vince are stupid. A year ago, you couldn't imagine a 19 minute opening segment with Roman Reigns being passable. Now they're can't miss.
Backstage, Paul Heyman tells Adam Pearce he's in the Gauntlet match tonight. The former 5-time NWA Worlds Champion last wrestled in December 2014.
I'm just saying, we missed out on some potentially amazing skits of Kevin Owens desperately looking for a friend to back him up and pretending to enjoy listening to whatever metal music Damian Priest listens to.
WWE Intercontinental Championship
Big E (c) defeated Apollo Crews to retain the title
Graves selling that immediate attack of Crews was fantastic. Set the tone for the rest of the match. There's a double pin that perfectly sets up a commercial break that causes a restart. I thought that was a really smart way to take a break. There are some incredible spots, including Apollo Crews with a frog splash, and Big E with a uranage. Big E gets a good win with the Big Ending. We need Big E defending the title constantly in good matches, or noteworthy matches. That's how you bring prestige to the title. Good moments, clean finishes.
- Sonya Deville is shown backstage talking to Adam Pearce. A good segment that furthers the Pearce/Reigns stuff, as well as Sonya's return.
- Bianca Belair and Bayley both enter the Royal Rumble, and Bianca Belair cuts a great promo on Bayley
- Carmella takes a shot at Sasha Banks' SI Wrestler Of The Year gimmick. Imagine if WWE promoted The Mandalorian.
- Riott Squad pass on Billie Kay joining Riott Squad. She cries and they feel bad for her. Oh, this is gonna be good.
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships
Dirty Dawgs defeated Street Profits (c) to become champions
They are putting over Montez Ford strong in this. This is going to make for some great "we always knew he was a star" footage in future documentaries. As good as Montez Ford is, Angelo Dawkins has noticeably upped his game of late, too. Ford is selling a leg injury, even through a big hot tag. Montez kicks out of really welcoming PerfectPlex. This match is off the charts. Ziggler and Roode pin Ford with their finish. I guess I don't understand the need for an eight match feud here, but I don't have any problem with Roode and Ziggler getting a clean win.
Top Contender's Gauntlet
Adam Pearce wins
- Rey Mysterio and Sami Zayn start, and Zayn immediately gets pinned with a 619 and a Frog Splash. Zayn brought documentarians.
- Shinsuke Nakamura is able to submit Rey Mysterio with an armbar. They should really put over on commentary that the wrestlers have to work at an adjusted pace because of the nature of the match. It really worked for the NWA TV Title matches.
- Corbin attacks Dominik on his way into the ring, and I think this should have affected the finish. Corbin's offense looked really good. A chokeslam, and one into the buckle. He's so great at a fast pace. Nakamura goes for a Kinshasa and gets hit with a Deep Six, but wins with another. Outstanding series.
- They waited until the end of the commercial to start Bryan and Nakamura, and I appreciate that. Nakamura beats Mysterio, Corbin and Daniel Bryan CLEAN. This was outstanding, hard hitting and violent. A great back and forth. They show respect to one another after the match.
- Woahwoahwoahwoah Nakamura what are you doing having a good match buddy, the beach is THAT WAY. LOOK JAY WHITE! Everything is fine.
"Adam Pearce wasn't good enough to make it into WWE"- Michael Cole. OOF.
Reigns and Uso jump Nakamura. Reigns punches Adam Pearce and puts him on top of Nakamura.
I guess you could say Adam Pearce dragged Shinsuke Nakamura into deep waters.
10- Perfect, 9- MOTY Territory, 8- Excellent, 7- Great, 6- Good, 5- Average to above average, 4- Slightly below average, 3 or below: Poor
Each match starts at a 5 and slides up and down based on entertainment, execution, time, environment, reaction and stakes. The ratings are in no way an indication of a "star rating," which is a completely different system. A standard, non-offensive "TV match" lands at a 5. The gap between 5.75-6 is generally the largest, with anything reaching 6 being recommended viewing.
These are opinions, and incredibly inconsistent ones that may change upon a second viewing, or sitting on the match for a period of time. Don't take them too seriously, and have (and share) your own!