It’s time for one of those shows that shouldn’t be all that novel of a concept yet it apparently only matters one night a year. Titles are usually what matter most in wrestling and they are defended on every single show, but in this case we have a show dedicated to them. That doesn’t mean the show will be bad (as it shouldn’t be) but the show isn’t exactly a novel concept. Let’s get to it.
Women’s Tag Team Titles: Alexa Bliss/Nikki Cross(c) vs. Fire & Desire
I know this hasn’t been announced for the Kickoff Show yet but it’s tailor made for the show. Bliss and Cross are suddenly real friends and faces, which means they aren’t likely to hold the titles for very long. What interests me more than anything else here is how the titles have gone from complete afterthoughts to something that actually matter in the span of a few weeks, all because they’ve been treated like something people want. Funny how that works no?
They’ve been here before:I’ll go with new champions here as Bliss and Cross are fresh faces and therefore must be crushed immediately. WWE has been wanting to push the heck out of Rose forever now and Deville shouldn’t be that far behind her. Giving them the titles lets some more teams chase them, possibly while even getting some more people back on the show (like Asuka, as her rehabilitation needs to begin). New champs here, though it’s far from a guarantee.
Cruiserweight Title: Drew Gulak(c) vs. Gran Metalik vs. Humberto Carrillo
This is another match that hasn’t been announced for the Kickoff Show but you can all but guarantee it’s going to be there. Just for the sake of tradition if nothing else. Metalik was added to this match a few weeks ago when people realized that the idea of Carrillo vs. Gulak on their own wasn’t the most thrilling thing in the world. Then again, does it really matter at this point?
Sometimes it makes sense to put them all in a tag match:
SmackDown Tag Team Titles: New Day(c) vs. Revival
This is the forgotten match on the card as New Day has been laid out by Revival and Randy Orton so many times now. In theory that should mean new champions as New Day is not only banged up, but they also don’t have any reason to keep the titles. The team has done everything they can do now so they might as well just change the titles and get it over with.
These guys know each other:
US Title: AJ Styles(c) vs. Cedric Alexander
Now this one interests me as there are a lot of factors to consider. First of all, it is clear that Alexander is one of Paul Heyman’s pet projects. They want to push the heck out of him, which seems to be a very similar story to what they did with Ricochet. Now Ricochet got the title, but I’m not sure if that is what they are going to do here with Alexander. Couple that with Alexander being the hometown boy and it isn’t clear how this is going to go.
Call it a sequel:
Roman Reigns vs. Erick Rowan
This is the only non-title match on the card but it’s also one of the most personal. Rowan was recently revealed as the attacker who had been going after Reigns, which makes him a lot more interesting than he has been in years. Rowan seems to be the only villain at the moment, but Daniel Bryan being added to the story would make a lot of sense in the near or far future.
They know how to fight:
SmackDown Women’s Title: Bayley(c) vs. Charlotte
Oh I’m worried about this one. Bayley is getting better as champion and has held the thing for a nice reign now, but you can never count out WWE’s ability to give Charlotte the title, again in her hometown. What better way to make everyone happy than to give her the title again because she hasn’t held one in over five months now (which might be a record for her).
The real best friends:
Intercontinental Title: Shinsuke Nakamura(c) vs. The Miz
This is one of those matches that looks one sided on paper but at the same time, you could also look at the bigger picture and see something complete different. There is no reason to have Nakamura lose here as he and Sami Zayn are starting to get somewhere and Nakamura needs to reestablish himself as a player with something like a long Intercontinental Title reign.
Consider the gauntlet thrown:
Raw Tag Team Titles: Seth Rollins/Braun Strowman(c) vs. Robert Roode/Dolph Ziggler
Now this one might be the easiest pick all night long. Rollins and Strowman are meeting later in the night for Rollins’ Universal Title, so why in the world would they be trying to work hard to defend these titles? I know the idea of any title means something but it doesn’t make much sense for Strowman to break his neck to retain these titles. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him turn on Rollins, as he should in one sense.
Who says you need to like each other to win:
Raw Women’s Title: Becky Lynch(c) vs. Sasha Banks
Again, this one depends on what you’re looking at for the future. Lynch is the biggest star the women’s division has at the moment and is one of the marquee stars of the company. Banks on the other hand can be a heck of a heel champion if she FINALLY gets to retain the thing for more than a few weeks. She’s been awesome in her return, but I’d be skeptical about handing her a title just a few weeks after she took so much time off.
The champ is around:
SmackDown World Title: Kofi Kingston(c) vs. Randy Orton
Egads man I don’t know. What you can all but guarantee is that Kingston isn’t champion when the first SmackDown Live on FOX ends, but the question is who does he lose it to? Is it here vs. Orton or LESNAR SMASH on SmackDown Live? Kingston has already had a FAR longer reign than I would have expected so the title change does make sense.
Kingston is a bit banged up:
Raw World Title: Seth Rollins(c) vs. Braun Strowman
I’m rarely a fan of a lame duck title match but that is what we have here. Bray Wyatt is going to be getting the title match next month inside the Cell and that is the big money match at the moment. That leaves the question of who should get to face him, which is kind of a debatable point here with two viable options.
Sometimes you just need carnage:
This show is uh, heavy. There is a lot to digest on a single card and that could become a big problem in a hurry. The show offers no room to breathe and I’m worried about what that is going to mean for the show. I’m sure there are going to be several title changes, but how many of them are going to matter with SmackDown Live on FOX looming as much as it is? It looks good enough on paper, but it seems like a show that could be rather exhausting in execution.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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