Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over twelve years now and have reviewed over 6,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?
Stomping Grounds 2019
Date: June 23, 2019
Location: Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, Washington
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Byron Saxton, Tom Phillips, Renee Young
It’s the show that no one was asking for, featuring a bunch of rematches from the show that fans didn’t want to watch in the first place. The big question here is who will be the guest referee in the Universal Title match with Baron Corbin challenging Seth Rollins. I’m not sure what to expect here, though everything outside of the main events doesn’t look too bad actually. Let’s get to it.
Kickoff Show: Cruiserweight Title: Tony Nese vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak
Nese is defending after the other two went to a double pin in a #1 contenders match. It’s a brawl to start with Everyone getting an early near fall. Gulak gets sent outside for a dive from Nese and Tozawa adds a charge to send Gulak into the barricade. Back in and Nese catches Tozawa on top, setting up a gutbuster for two. Gulak drapes Nese over the middle rope and suplexes Tozawa onto the champ as we take a break.
Back with Nese throwing Tozawa at Gulak, who is right back with the Gulock on Nese. Tozawa has to make the save with the top rope backsplash and Nese heads outside. Tozawa’s running dropkick gets two on Gulak but Nese is back in. A springboard moonsault gets two on Gulak with Tozawa making a save, setting up a chop off with the champ. Nese gets the better of it and goes up, only to miss the 450.
Instead he grabs an over the shoulder belly to back piledriver on Gulak but Tozawa hits a running knee to the face for two of his own. The running knee hits Gulak in the corner and Tozawa gets powerbombed into the corner but Gulak has to dive over for the save. Tozawa dropkicks Nese to the floor but walks into the torture rack neckbreaker to give Gulak the pin and the title at 11:23.
Rating: B. These guys were working here and that made for a very fun opening match. I’m surprised they took the title off of Nese but it makes sense to go with the new version of Gulak. They’ve teased him winning the title forever now and had to put the title on him eventually so this works well enough. If nothing else they can run Gulak vs. Chad Gable on one of the big shows down the line. Heck of an opener here and much better than I was expecting.
The opening video looks at the major matches on the show with a bit of These Boots Are Made For Walking. Some attacks featuring feet and shoes get a look at the end.
Raw Women’s Title: Lacey Evans vs. Becky Lynch
Becky is defending and we get Big Match Intros. Lacey gets taken into the corner to start and slaps away both of Becky’s hands. An early leglock sends Lacey to the rope for the early break so Becky goes with some of the most obvious spot calling of the year. A springboard kick to the chest misses because Lacey isn’t in position but the second attempt works better. Becky gets two off a backslide but gets gator rolled into the corner.
Lacey bends her back around the post with some rather violent pulls before pulling on the arm and kicking at the ribs. The armbar with an elbow to the ribs keeps Becky in trouble but she fights up again. This time Lacey gets taken into the corner and Becky rolls her into a cross armbreaker to get the fans back into things.
That’s broken up with a ram into the middle buckle and Lacey goes right back to the ribs. Lacey pulls out her towel but Becky drives it into her mouth instead. A running forearm lets Becky stomp away in the corner and now the Bexploder gets two. Lacey hits a springboard Stunner and a kick to the ribs for two of her own, only to have Becky pull her into the Disarm-Her for the tap at 11:26.
Rating: C+. Lacey was trying here but it’s not like there was any doubt about who was winning. Lynch is one of the harder pushed stars in the company right now and it would be nuts to have her lose the title so soon after winning it on the grand stage. It’s a good opener and the fans are happy, so things are already going better than I was expecting.
Video on Ali, focusing on doing good things because it’s the right way to live.
Paul Heyman leaves Baron Corbin’s locker room and won’t answer questions about being guest referee. Instead he threatens a Money in the Bank cash in. Heyman leaves and Corbin comes out, saying he has chosen an impartial referee.
New Day vs. Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens
Kevin superkicks Big E. off the apron and hits three more on Woods. A Swanton gets two and it’s already off to Sami for two off the Blue Thunder Bomb. Owens adds the frog splash for two more and things settle down a bit. Some stomping sets up a Cannonball for two and Sami slaps on a Crossface. That’s broken up and Woods finally gets in an enziguri for a breather from Owens.
Sami pulls Big E. off the apron in a smart move but Owens misses the running backsplash. There’s no Big E. so Woods has to hit a victory roll faceplant. NOW the hot tag can bring in Big E. for the house cleaning suplexes. The splash gets two on Zayn and Woods electric chairs Big E. into another one for another splash.
This time Owens breaks it up but gets sent outside, leaving Zayn to escape the Midnight Hour. Big E. gets sent outside so it’s the Helluva Kick into the Pop Up Powerbomb for two as Big E. dives back in for the save. Owens superkicks Big E. but walks into a rolling elbow for a four way knockdown. The running spear sends Sami through the ropes, leaving Owens to Stun Woods for the pin at 11:07.
Rating: C+. It’s about time that Owens and Zayn won something. If WWE is going to have them on every show and make them big challengers for Kofi, you have to let them win a match or two every now and then. The start was energetic and the ending was the right call so this worked well.
Nikki Cross gives Alexa Bliss a pep talk because Bliss deserves the Smackdown Women’s Title more than Bayley. Tonight it’s them against the world.
US Title: Ricochet vs. Samoa Joe
Joe is defending. Feeling out process to start with Joe snapping off a jab to let Ricochet know he’s there. Ricochet flips over him and hits a dropkick as they head outside. That’s fine with Joe, who drives him back first into the barricade to take over. Back in and the Rock Bottom out of the corner gives Joe two and a hard elbow to the jaw gets the same. The enziguri in the corner sets up the chinlock for a rather long bit.
Ricochet fights up and escapes but gets knocked back into the ropes. Joe pulls him into a sitout powerbomb for two more and it’s off to the neck crank. That’s broken up as well and a pair of enziguris drops Joe for Ricochet’s first real offense. The springboard clothesline mostly misses but it manages to knock Joe outside for the running Fosbury Flop.
Back in and Joe gets two off a quick powerslam, followed by a German suplex. A hard clothesline gets two and Joe is getting frustrated. Ricochet gets up but his kick to the ribs is count, allowing Joe to flip him backwards. The Koquina Clutch is countered with a neck snap across the ropes and it’s the 630 to give Ricochet the pin and the title at 12:21.
Rating: B-. This took time to get going and there was some sloppiness in there but points for going with someone they’ve actually built up for a change. Now that being said, I’m not sure why Joe needed to get the title back at all and it didn’t really need to happen. Still though, it’s nice to see something logically done for a change and this worked well.
Post match the locker room congratulates Ricochet in the back.
Smackdown Tag Team Titles: Heavy Machinery vs. Rowan/Daniel Bryan
Bryan and Rowan are defending and it’s a pure hero’s welcome for Bryan, as you had to expect. Otis shakes at Bryan to start and Bryan can’t take him down at all. Posing ensues and the fans are still completely behind Bryan. Tucker comes in for two off a delayed suplex so it’s off to Rowan for a running crossbody. The nerve hold keeps Tucker down and Rowan slams his head off the mat for a bonus.
It’s back to Bryan for a big reaction and a running dropkick in the corner. The champs start in on Tucker’s knees and a splash gives Rowan two. Tucker finally avoids a charge and the hot tag brings in Otis for the running clotheslines. A sitout powerbomb gets two on Bryan but he avoids a Vader Bomb. Bryan gets fired up and snaps off the YES Kicks, which just seem to annoy Otis.
A capture suplex sends Bryan flying and there’s the Caterpillar. The catapult into the belly to belly gets one as Rowan makes a very fast save. Tucker’s moonsault grazes Bryan and it’s Otis and Rowan exchanging shoulders. Neither goes anywhere so Otis catches Rowan’s crossbody with a suplex. The Compactor is broken up though and Bryan’s top rope knee drops Otis. Tucker breaks up the running knee though and dives of the top onto Rowan. Back in and Bryan small packages Tucker to retain at 14:18.
Rating: C. Not too bad here though the ending was never in any form of doubt. Bryan and Rowan are dying for some competition and I have a bad feeling that means moving some talent over to Smackdown instead of building someone up on the show. The match was ok, but I didn’t buy the champs as being in danger.
We recap Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley. Last month, Bayley won the Smackdown Women’s Title and has been more serious this time around. She’s never been able to beat Bliss in the big match though and has to get over the hump.
Smackdown Women’s Title: Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss
Bayley is defending and Bliss has Nikki Cross in her corner. Bliss comes straight at her and gets dropped face first onto the turnbuckle for an early two. A missed charge lets Bliss grab a chinlock as the announcers bicker over Alexa’s actions. Bliss hits a backbreaker for two and the frustration is already setting in. A running crossbody gives Bayley two as we hear about Bliss possibly winning her sixth title, along with Charlotte. Given how long both of them have been around, that’s REALLY questionable booking.
Bliss hits her in the mouth and takes a bow so Bayley gets all fired up. That just earns her a big right hand and Bayley is down again. The DDT is countered though and Bayley hits a running knee to the head. Bliss bails to the floor but manages to pull Bayley’s arm into the post. A few slams of the arm onto the floor give Bliss two back inside and she wraps the arm around the ropes.
Bayley grabs a belly to back for two and a sunset flip bomb sends Bliss into the buckle. Cross takes a suicide dive for Bliss, who might have shoved her in the way. That lets bliss send Bayley into the steps and hit a Code Red on the floor. Back in and Bliss heads up but Nikki comes in to go after Bayley. That’s enough of a delay for Bayley to get the knees up, followed by the Bayley to Belly to retain at 10:38.
Rating: C-. Probably the worst match of the night so far but it still wasn’t too bad. What matters the most here is Bayley FINALLY beating Bliss and not having another title reign cut off for the sake of giving it back to another one of WWE’s favorites. Bayley could go somewhere as champion so this is as good of an idea as they could have had.
We recap R-Truth and Drake Maverick trading the 24/7 Title. Maverick’s new wife already wants a divorce.
Ricochet is having his first photo shoot as champion when the Good Brothers and AJ Styles come in. AJ says he’ll see Ricochet tomorrow night. Well if you just insist.
We recap Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns, which is at least mostly about Shane McMahon. Roman beat Drew at Wrestlemania but then Superman Punched Vince McMahon, sending Shane after him. Then Shane beat Roman at Super ShowDown and it’s time for another round before we get back to Shane vs. Reigns again.
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
Shane is in Drew’s corner. Drew meets him in the aisle and the fight is on in a hurry. They get inside with Roman knocking him back outside for the big over the top dive. Reigns has to chase Shane into the crowd though, allowing Drew to cut off a dive with a right hand. Drew sends him into the steps to take over and they head inside, where Shane gets another cheap shot. The armbar goes on for a bit, followed by a pull of Reigns’ mouth. Reigns fights up so Shane snaps his throat across the top, allowing Drew to plant him down for two.
Drew actually puts on something like a surfboard of all things and manages to keep it on for awhile. Reigns gets out and the comeback is on with some clotheslines. A big boot looks to set up the Superman Punch but Reigns has to throw it at Shane instead. Another Superman Punch has Shane down on the floor but Drew hits the reverse Alabama Slam onto the announcers’ table.
Back in and a swinging Rock Bottom gives Drew two, followed by a top rope superplex. Drew even nips up and hits the Glasgow Kiss before heading up top. Roman Superman Punches him out of the air for two though and they’re both down. They trade strikes to the face until Reigns spears him down but Shane makes the save at two.
Shane tries Coast to Coast and clearly leaves it VERY short with the camera cut being needed to save him. That only gives Drew two so Reigns hits another Superman Punch, tosses Shane out again, and hits a second spear for the pin at 17:17. Cole: “BIG DOG STRONG!”
Rating: D+. The booking here makes my soul hurt as we’re still having Drew sacrificed for the sake of keeping Shane strong. They could have had Shane cost Roman here to set up what is likely a handicap match next month but nah, let’s have Drew lose again so we can get to Shane vs. Reigns. In Philadelphia too, because that’s going to go well.
We recap the Cruiserweight Title change.
We recap Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler. Dolph came back a month or so ago and attacked Kofi out of jealousy, claiming that it should have been him getting the Wrestlemania title shot. Kofi beat him at Super ShowDown but Ziggler claimed it was unfair and got a rematch inside a cage.
Smackdown World Title: Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler
Kofi is defending in a cage. Dolph hits a dropkick and goes for the very early escape but gets pulled back down. A missed superkick lets Kofi hit his own dropkick but Ziggler sends him into the cage. We hit the chinlock, which doesn’t last long because it’s a cage match. Kofi gets sent into the cage again and it’s off to a Crossface. Kofi gets up and runs the corner for a dropkick to put them both down.
Ziggler rams him into the cage again though (you can’t fault his strategy) and Kofi gets cut off for a third time. Some slaps in the corner have Ziggler shouting about what Kofi made him do. Kofi is so annoyed at the stupid story that he sends Ziggler into the cage and adds his own slaps. A ram into the cage and a rollup give Kofi two and they’re both down. Kofi goes up and kicks Ziggler off but it’s a high crossbody instead of an escape attempt. Both guys go up at the same time but Kofi pulls him back in and they fall to the mat.
The SOS gives Kofi two though he seems to be favoring his leg. Ziggler pulls him down by the leg and puts on a bad looking leglock. Thankfully the rope break doesn’t count so Kofi climbs to his feet, earning himself a superkick. Ziggler has to stop him from falling out of the door and it’s back to the leglock.
Back up and Trouble in Paradise is countered into something like the ankle lock. Kofi reverses into one of his own but that’s broken up in a hurry. The Zig Zag gets two so Kofi grabs a front facelock, sending Ziggler backing through the door. Kofi pulls him back in so Ziggler gets in two feet to the face. With Ziggler on his way out the door, Kofi dives over him to escape and retain at 19:57.
Rating: D+. The match wasn’t horrible but it was WAY too long and the ending was pretty weak. That leg stuff in the second half went on forever and didn’t really go anywhere. Kofi winning was obvious (again) and I’m sure Ziggler will somehow get another rematch at Extreme Rules because the solution to a bad match is to do it all over again.
Shane makes himself and Drew against Reigns for tomorrow night.
We recap Baron Corbin vs. Seth Rollins for the Universal Title. Rollins beat him at Super ShowDown but Corbin complained about a biased referee, earning himself a rematch. He also gets to pick the guest referee for tonight, though we don’t know who it is yet.
Universal Title: Seth Rollins vs. Baron Corbin
Rollins is defending and brings his chair with him. There’s no referee to start but Rollins says anyone who comes out here is getting the same treatment as anyone else. The guest referee is…..Lacey Evans? Rollins yells at her so Corbin jumps him from behind and gets in some chair shots before the bell. Lacey officially starts the match as Corbin drives Seth’s ribs into various things.
Graves and Renee do their usual bickering as the slide underneath the ropes into the clothesline puts Rollins down. A DDT cuts off the comeback and Rollins gets turned upside down in the corner. The fans find this boring/want AEW and Corbin hits Rollins in the throat. Rollins’ enziguri takes Corbin down as Lacey hasn’t done anything of note yet. There’s a Sling Blade to put Corbin on the floor, meaning the suicide dive can connect. Back in and Rollins gets a very delayed two so he hits a powerbomb through the announcers’ table.
Evans counts to ten very slowly but once she gets to eight, she decides that there are no countouts. Rollins throws him back in but the suicide dive is countered into a chokeslam onto the apron. Another chokeslam gets two back inside, only to have Rollins hit the superkick. The frog splash gets two and, of course, Lacey throws her shoulder out at two. Corbin goes outside and grabs a chair for some shots to Rollins’ back.
And now it’s No DQ, which you should have known was coming five minutes ago. Rollins is back with a Falcon Arrow onto the chair and this time Lacey doesn’t even bother counting. Corbin gets up and hits End of Days but here’s Becky Lynch to take out Lacey. The same referee from Super ShowDown comes in and it’s a superkick into the Stomp to retain Rollins’ title at 18:23.
Rating: D. The story and booking were fine enough but they didn’t overcome the bigger issues, which are about as obvious as you can get. And now we’re probably getting another match between them next month (gee I’ve had to say that a lot) because the first two haven’t been enough. This match felt like getting through a checklist with all of the tropes of the storyline and that made for a very long main event. I didn’t buy Corbin as a threat to win the title and that made it even worse.
Becky and Seth pose together to end the show.
Overall Rating: C-. This show felt like a mixture of Impact and WCW with some WWE thrown in. The TV leading up to tonight has been awful, but if you get rid of a lot of the storylines and just let them wrestle, it’s easy to have a good time. Then you have the good stuff to start but then the main events are so bogged down by storylines and people that the fans don’t want to see that it kills the momentum.
The complete lack of expectations helped bail them out again, but I don’t know how much longer they can go with this level of apathy on their television. The wrestling was mostly good, but the show was ice cold coming in and that has to change. Some fresh stories would be a good place to start and I don’t see that being the case anytime soon. It’s not even a bad show in the end, but rather a show that I didn’t want to watch and left no impact on me. Now it’s back to the dreadful TV and that’s going to make for a rough week. Again.
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