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I told you I was going to do it, and here it is. The very first (of what will, hopefully, be a long-running series) of this week’s wrestling round-up. For any new nerds to the site, your resident Nerd-in-the-Know (that’d be James Wright, by the way) has been a fan of all things wrestling and the WWE for as long as I could remember. And much like the world of movies and TV, it’s an ever-evolving world where a week can bring umpteen different things to talk about. So, with all that in mind, let’s do a whistle-stop tour of everything that’s been happening in the WWE this week.
Monday 6th November 2017 – RAW
As part of their European tour, the WWE hosted Monday Night RAW from Manchester, right here in the UK. And, as the company continues closer to their upcoming November Pay-per-view (PPV) event, Survivor Series, the wrestlers from both RAW and Smackdown have been engaging in a “cross-promotion” war for supremacy (because WWE like to make us think that both shows are in competition with one another for ratings, even though they still promote one another on their respective shows!)
One of the many matches already announced for Survivor Series was a tag-team match pitting the champions of RAW against the champions of Smackdown. And, up until this week’s RAW, the reunited team of Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins (RAW‘s champions) were set to take on (Smackdown‘s) The Usos – Jimmy and Jey Uso. However, in a match against Sheamus and Cesaro (collectively known as The Bar), Ambrose and Rollins shockingly lost their titles, effectively changing the match at the PPV.
This coincides with WWE giving Roman Reigns the all-clear from a recent viral infection which saw him written off TV for nearly a month. Roman Reigns, along with Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, made up one of WWE‘s most popular teams in recent years; The SHIELD, and with Reigns return imminent, it’s highly likely that this was the reason for the sudden title change.
The result will see the official in-ring reunion of The SHIELD as they are hotly rumoured to be squaring off against one of WWE‘s other most popular trios, The New Day at Survivor Series.
Elsewhere on RAW, WWE United Kingdom Champion Pete Dunn defeated the WWE Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore. Amore recently turned heel (villain) and, following what Amore feels is a conspiracy against him perpetrated by RAW General Manager (GM) Kurt Angle, Amore called Angle out on this. Angle made the impromptu contest between Amore and Dunn, who refers to himself as the “Bruiserweight”, with the ‘home-town’ hero winning over the Cruiserweight Champion. Enzo later issued a threat to the entire UK Division for when 205 Live (the special Cruiserweight shows) aired next.
Tuesday 7th November 2017 – Smackdown Live
In the second of WWE‘s Manchester shows, Smackdown Live topped what happened the night before with one of the most unexpected – but definitely most well-received – results in recent history.
In the main event of the evening, Jinder Mahal and AJ Styles clashed in a one-on-one contest with the WWE Championship on the line. Mahal, who had controversially been chosen to become WWE Champion several months ago to help draw in the highly lucrative Indian market, had challenged RAW‘s Universal Champion Brock Lesnar to a Champion Vs Champion contest at Survivor Series. The match was confirmed when Lesnar agreed to the challenge, and WWE spent plenty of time and money in advertising the match-up – making the title change that much stranger. Now, AJ Styles will face off against Lesnar at the upcoming PPV.
The main event for Survivor Series PPV has, traditionally, been a 5-on-5 tag team contest, and this year’s event is no different. This year sees Kurt Angle’s Team RAW take on Shane McMahon’s Team Smackdown with bragging rights going to the victors. Team RAW features; Samoa Joe, Jason Jordan, Braun Strowman, Finn Bálor, and Captain Kurt Angle, whilst Team Smackdown is comprised of Bobby Roode, Shinsuke Nakamura, Randy Orton, Captain Shane McMahon, and, as confirmed by Shane McMahon via Twitter, John Cena! Expect to see big things in this match, with speculation of interference from the likes of Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens against Shane McMahon…and maybe others.
Tuesday 7th November 2017 – 205 Live
Immediately after Smackdown Live, WWE hosts their Cruiserweight-exclusive programme, 205 Live. Featuring some of the hottest acts under the weight-limit, 205 has made Enzo Amore, Neville, and Austin Aries household names for WWE over the past year. This week, Cruiserweight Champion Enzo Amore welcomed the WWE UK division to the “‘Zo Show”, where Enzo is ‘king’. The cocky champion took his time berating the wrestlers in their home-country, before getting to inaugural UK Champion Tyler Bate, who proceeded to punch Enzo out of the ring, setting up a match later on that night.
Before then, however, Enzo’s Survivor Series opponent, Kalisto, was set for a match against another Brit, ‘Gentleman’ Jack Gallagher. Gallagher brought his technically sound offence to the high-flyer throughout most of the match. At a pivotal moment in the match, Kalisto attempted an aerial attack from the top-ropes, but this was countered by Gallagher who turned it into a submission manoeuvre. Kalisto showed the instincts that have brought him championship gold in the past by breaking out of the hold and hitting his finishing move to win the match.
In a match that was set-up from the start of 205 Live, Enzo Amore took on the inaugural UK Champion Tyler Bate, who was also making his 205 debut. The match started off in Bate’s favour, twice knocking the Cruiserweight Champion out of the ring. However, Enzo quickly took control of the bout, taking the advantage away from the British native. After a series of events that included Bate attempting to knock Enzo down from the top-rope only to get knocked to the outside himself, Enzo ended the match following the use of his finisher, the JawdonZo. With the match won, Enzo decided to beat down on Bate, until his Survivor Series opponent, Kalisto stormed the ring and chased the champion away.
WWE’s second-tier programme, and former developmental brand, NXT aired from it’s home in Florida’s Full Sail University back in the States. NXT has been the stepping stone for such international stars as Samoa Joe, Finn Bálor, Kevin Owens, Cesaro, and Sami Zayn, so it’s always a great place to see the superstars of tomorrow in action today. And this week’s edition was no different. Whilst the mainline WWE superstars gear up for the Survivor Series PPV, NXT get set to host their own quarterly event, War Games.
Similar to Survivor Series, this year’s War Games will host its own multi-man-tag-team clash. And the main event of this week’s NXT featured a few members of the War Games main-event facing off ahead of the big event.
Roderick Strong and Adam Cole faced off one-on-one. Cole threw everything he had at Strong, using submission holds and even using the referee as a distraction. However, Strong was able to power through all of Cole’s offence and even hit Cole with a leaping knee to the face and a backbreaker onto the top turnbuckle. This prompted Cole’s teammates, Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish to rush to the ring and help their Captain out, which prompted the referee to call for the disqualification (DQ) to end the match. However, the action didn’t stop there, as Strong’s War Games teammates, the Authors of Pain came down to aide their teammate, and the six men were shortly joined by the third team involved in the War Games main-event, SAnitY. A brief standoff gave way to an all-out brawl between the nine men, which lead to them spilling out onto the floor by ringside. Roderick Strong superplexed Adam Cole from the top turnbuckle to the floor, which wiped everyone out in the process. War Games should be fun if this action is anything to go by.
And so concludes another hectic week in the world of WWE. WarGame airs on the WWE Network this Saturday 18th November, with Survivor Series airing on Sunday 19th November, also on WWE Network.